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An Unknown Donor 









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It is not to be thought of that the flood 

Of British freedom, which to the open sea 

Of the world's praise, from dark antiquity 

Hath flowed "with pomp of waters unwithstood " 

Road by which all might come and go that would, 

And bear out freights of worth to foreign lands ; 

That this most famous stream in bogs and sands 

Should perish, and to evil and to good 

Be lost for ever. In our halls is hung 

Armoury of the invincible knights of old : 

We must be free or die, who speak the tongue 

That Shakespeare spake the laith and morals hold 

Which Milton held. In everything we're sprung 

Of earth's first blood, have titles manifold. 




WE suffragists have no cause to be ashamed of the 
founders of our movement 

" In everything we're sprung 
Of earth's first blood, have titles manifold." 

Mary Wollstonecraft x started the demand of women 
for political liberty in England, Condorcet in France, 2 
and the heroic group of anti-slavery agitators in the 
United States. It is true that Horace Walpole called 
Mary Wollstonecraft "a hyena in petticoats." But 
this proves nothing except his profound ignorance of 
her character and aims. Have we not in our own time 
heard the ladies who first joined the Primrose League 
described by an excited politician as " filthy witches " ? 
The epithet of course was as totally removed from any 
relation to the facts as that which Horace Walpole 
applied to Mary Wollstonecraft. William Godwin's 
touching memoir of his wife, Mr. Kegan Paul's William 
Godwin: his Friends and Contemporaries, and Mrs. 
PennelTs Biography show Mary Wollstonecraft as a 
woman of exceptionally pure and exalted character. 

1 Vindication of the Rights of Women, published in 1792. 

2 See Le vote des Femmes, pp. 16-22, par Ferdinand Buisson, 
De"pnt de la Seine et President de la Commission du Suffrage Uni- 
verselle. Condorcet had a predecessor in Mademoiselle Jars de 
Gournay, the friend of Montaigne. See Miss E. Sichel's Michel de 
Montaigne, p. 137. 



Her sharp wits had been sharpened by every sort of 
personal misfortune ; they enabled her to pierce through 
all shams and pretences, but they never caused her to 
lower her high sense of duty ; they never embittered 
her or caused her to waver in her allegiance to the 
pieties of domestic life. Her husband wrote of her 
soon after her death, " She was a worshipper of domestic 
life." If there is anything in appearance, her face 
in the picture in the National Portrait Gallery speaks 
for her. Southey wrote of her, that of all the lions of 
the day whom he had seen "her face was the best, 
infinitely the best." 

The torch which was lighted by Mary Wollstonecraft 
was never afterwards extinguished ; there are glimpses 
of its light in the poems of her son-in-law Shelley. 
The frequent references to the principle of equality 
between men and women in the " Revolt of Islam" wiU 
occur to every reader. 

In 1810 Sydney Smith, in the Edinburgh Review, wrote 
one of the most brilliant and witty articles which even 
he ever penned in defence of an extension of the means 
of a sound education to women. 

In 1813 Mrs. Elizabeth Fry began to visit prisoners 
in Newgate, and shocked those who, citing the parrot 
cry " woman's place is home," thought a good woman 
had no duties outside its walls. She had children of 
her own, but this did not shut her heart to the wretched 
waifs for whom she founded a school in prison. A 
little after this England began to be stirred by the 
agitation which resulted in the passing of the Reform 
Bill of 1832. It is one of life's little ironies that James 
Mill, the founder of the Philosophical Radicals, and 
the father of John Stuart Mill, who laid the foundation 
of the modern suffrage movement, was among those 
vrho, in the early nineteenth century, justified the ex- 
clusion of women from all political rights. In an Essay 
on " Government " published in 1823 as an appendix 
to the fifth edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, he 
dismissed in a sentence all claim of women to share in 
the benefits and protection of representative govern- 


ment, stating that their interests were sufficiently 
protected by the enfranchisement of their husbands 
and fathers. It is true that this did not pass un- 
challenged ; a book in reply was published (1825) by 
William Thomson. This book had a preface by Mrs. 
Wheeler, at whose instigation it was written. 1 

The Reform Movement was agitating the whole 
country at this period, and political excitement led to 
political riots, burning of buildings, and general orgies 
of massacre and destruction. The Government of the 
day had their share in the blunders and stupidities 
which led to these crimes, and in none were these 
qualities more conspicuous than in the riot at Manchester, 
which came to be known as the Peterloo Massacre in 
August 1819, in which six people were killed and about 
thirty seriously injured. 

What connects it with the subject of these pages has 
already been hinted at. Women as well as men had 
been ridden down by the cavalry ; they were present 
at the meeting not merely as spectators, but as taking 
an active part in the Reform Movement. A picture 
of the Peterloo Massacre, now in the Manchester Reform 
Club, is dedicated to " Henry Hunt, Esq., the chairman of 
the meeting and to the Female Reformers of Manchester 
and the adjacent towns who were exposed to and 
suffered from the wanton and furious attack made 
on them by that brutal armed force, the Manchester 
and Cheshire Yeomanry Cavalry." The, picture repre- 
sents women in every part of the fray, and certainly 
taking their share in its horrors. In the many de- 
scriptions of the event, no word of reprobation has 
come to my notice of the women who were taking part 
in the meeting ; they were neither " hyenas " nor 
" witches," but patriotic women helping their husbands 

1 Helen Blackburn's Record of Women's Suffrage, also Women in 
English Life, by Miss Georgina Hill. Mrs. Wheeler's daughter 
Rosina, married Mr. Lytton Bulwer, afterwards the first Lord 
Lytton. The present Earl of Lytton is thus the great-grandson of 
the lady who prompted the reply to James Mill's article referred 
to in tiie text. 


and brothers to obtain political liberty ; in a word, they 
were working for men and not for themselves, and this 
made an immense difference in the judgment meted 
out to them. However, it is quite clear that even as 
long ago as 1819 the notion that women have nothing 
to do with politics was in practice rejected by the 
political common-sense of Englishmen. No one doubted 
that women were, and ought to be, deeply interested in 
what concerned the political well-being of their country. 
Some political antiquarians in this country have 
expressed their conviction that in early times when 
the institution of feudalism was the strongest political 
force in England, women exercised electoral rights in 
those cases where they were entitled as landowners 
or as freewomen of certain towns to do so. 1 This 
view has been combated by other authorities, and has 
not been accepted in the law courts, where special 
emphasis has been laid on the fact that no authentic 
case of a woman having actually cast a vote, as of right, 
in a Parliamentary election can be produced. The 
claim that in ancient times women did exercise the 
franchise, whether capable of being established or not, 
certainly does not deserve to be dismissed as in itself 
absurd and incredible. I believe it has been called by 
some anti-suffragists " an impudent imposture," in 
the most approved style of the " what-I-know-not-is- 
not-knowledge " pedant. Whatever it may be, it is not 
this. In a book published in 191 1, 2 there is a passage 
which goes far to prove that even as late as 1807 the 
right of women possessing the necessary legal qualifica- 
tion to vote in Parliamentary elections was recognised 
as being in existence. One of the Spencer Stanhopes 
was a candidate during the general election of 1807, 

1 This view has also been supported in France, see Le vote des 
Femmes, by Ferdinand Buisson, for evidence of women having in 
ancient times voted and sat in the Parlements of France. Taine 
also mentions the Countess of Perigord sitting in the Etats of 
her province prior to the Revolution (Les Origines de la Franct 
Contemporaire, par H. Taine, vol. i. p. 104). 

2 Annals of a Yorkshire House, vol. ii. p. 319. 


and Mrs. Spencer Stanhope writes to her son, John, 
that her husband's party was so certain of success that 
they had announced that their women folk need not 
vote. " Your father was at Wakefield canvassing 
yesterday. . . . They determined not to admit the 
ladies to vote, which is extraordinary and very hard, 
considering how few privileges we poor females have. 
Should it come to a very close struggle, I daresay they 
will then call upon the ladies, and in that case every 
self-respecting woman should most certainly refuse 
her assistance." 

The contention is that the Reform Act of 1832, by 
substituting the words " male person " in lieu of the 
word " man " in the earlier Acts, first placed upon the 
women of this country the burden of a statutory dis- 
ability. This process, it is argued, was repeated in 
the Municipal Corporation Act of 1835, and is the 
reason why the admission of women to the municipal 
franchise in 1870 is spoken of in many of our suffrage 
publications as the "Restoration" of the municipal 
suffrage to women. The point appears more of anti- 
quarian than of practical interest. If substantiated, 
it only illustrates anew the fact that under feudalism, 
and as long as feudalism survived, property rather than 
human beings had a special claim to representation, 
but it assumed a larger degree of importance from 
what followed in 1850 and 1868. 

In 1850 Lord Brougham's Act was passed, which 
enacted that in all Acts of Parliament " words importing 
the masculine gender shall be deemed to include females 
unless the contrary is expressly provided." In the 
Reform Bill of 1867 the words " male person " were 
abandoned, and the word " man " was substituted, 
and many lawyers and others believed that under Lord 
Brougham's Act of 1850 women were thereby en- 
franchised. Under this belief, the reasons for which 
were set forth by Mr. Chisholm Anstey, barrister and 
ex-M.R, in two legal pamphlets published, one just 
before and one just after the passing of the Reform 
Bill of 1867, a large number of women rate-payers 


claimed before the revising barristers in 1868 to be 
placed upon the Parliamentary register. Under the 
able leadership of Miss Lydia Becker 5346 women 
householders of Manchester made this claim, 1341 in 
Salford, 857 in Broughton and Pendleton, 1 lady in 
S.E. Lancashire, a county constituency, 239 in Edin- 
burgh, and a few in other parts of Scotland. The 
revising barristers in most of these cases declined to 
place the women's names on the register ; and in order 
to get a legal decision, four cases were selected and 
argued before the Court of Common Pleas on November 
7, 1868. The judges were the Lord Chief Justice 
Bovill, with the Justices Willes, Keating, and Byles. 
Sir John (afterwards Lord) Coleridge, and Dr. Pankhurst 
were counsel for the appellants. The case (technically 
known as Chorlton v. Lings) was given against the 
women, on the express ground that although the word 
" man " in an Act of Parliament must be held to include 
women, " this did not apply to the privileges granted by 
the State" This judgment, therefore, established as 
law that " the same words in the same Act of Parlia- 
ment shall for the purpose of voting apply to men only, 
but for the purpose of taxation shall include women." x 
Some women's names had been accepted by revising 
barristers, and were already upon the register. A 
question was raised whether they could remain there. 
The barrister in charge of this case, Mr. A. Russell, Q.C., 
argued that when once the names were upon the register, 
if they had not been objected to they must remain ; 
one of the judges thereupon remarked that if this were 
so there would be no power to remove the name of a 
dog or a horse from the register if once it had been in- 
scribed upon it. This was eloquent of the political 
status of women, identifying it by implication with 
that of the domestic animals. The Times, in anticipa- 
tion of the Chorlton v. Lings case coming on for hearing, 
had an article on November 3, 1868, in which it said : 
" If one supposes it ever was the intention of the legis- 

1 Keport of the Manchester National Society for Women's 
Suffrage, 1869. 


lature to give women a vote, and if they do get it, it 
will be by a sort of accident, in itself objectionable, 
though, in its practical consequences, perhaps harmless 
enough. On the other hand, if they are refused, the 
nation will, no doubt, be formally and in the light of day 
committing itself, through its judicial tribunal, to the 
dangerous doctrine that representation need not go along 
with taxation" With the decision in Chorlton v. Lings, 
the last chance of women getting the suffrage by " a 
sort of accident" vanishes, and very few of us can 
now regret it, for the long struggle to obtain suffrage 
has been a great education for women, not only politi- 
cally, but also in courage, perseverance, endurance, and 
comradeship with each other. 

If the nineteenth century was a time of education for 
women, it was no less a time of education for men. 
We have not yet arrived at an equal moral standard 
for men and women, but we have travelled a long w T ay 
on the road leading to it. A George I. openly sur- 
rounding himself with mistresses, and shutting up his 
wife for life in a fortress for levity of behaviour ; a 
George IV. who measured with similar inequality his 
own and his wife's connubial transgressions, would not 
be tolerated in the England of the twentieth century. 
The awakening of women to a sense of their wrongs 
before the law was a leading feature of the women's 
movement in the early nineteenth century. The Hon. 
Mrs. Norton, the beautiful and gifted daughter of Tom 
Sheridan, a reigning toast, a society beauty, and with 
literary accomplishments sufficient to secure her an 
independent income from her pen, was subjected to 
every sort of humiliation and anguish as a wife and 
mother which the mean and cruel nature of her husband 
could devise. Mr. Norton brought an action against 
Lord Melbourne for the seduction of his wife, and the 
jury decided without leaving the box that Lord Mel- 
bourne was wholly innocent. This did not prevent 
the petty malice of her husband from depriving Mrs. 
Norton entirely of her three infant children, one of 
whom died from an accident which ought never to have 


happened if the child had been duly cared for. To 
read her life 1 is comparable to being present at a 
vivisection. Mrs. Norton had one weapon. She could 
make herself heard ; she wrote a pamphlet in 1836 
called " The Natural Claim of a Mother to the Custody oj 
her Children as affected by the Common Law Right of the 
Father." One result which followed from Mrs. Norton's 
sufferings, coupled with her power of giving public 
expression to them, was the passing of Serjeant Talf ourd's 
Act in 1839, called the Infants' Custody Act, giving a 
mother the right of access to her children until they are 
seven years old. This is the first inroad on the monopoly 
on the part of the father of absolute control over his 
children created by the English law. The division of 
legal rights over their children between fathers and 
mothers has been described by a lawyer as extremely 
simple the fathers have all and the mothers none. 
Serjeant Talfourd's Act did not do much to redress this 
injustice ; but it did something, and marks the 

inning of a new epoch. 

Jttle by little things began to change. Mrs. Somer- 
ville and Miss Caroline Herschell were elected members 
of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1835. Mrs. 
Browning wrote " Aurora Leigh," and thereby touched 
the whole woman's question with an artist's hand. 
Thackeray, in Esmond, pointed the finger of scorn at 
the " politicians and coffee-house wiseacres," who are 
full of oratorical indignation against the tyrannies of 
the Emperor or the French King, and wonders how they, 
who are tyrants too in their way, govern their own 
little dominions at home, where each man reigns ab- 
solute. " When the annals of each little reign are 
shown to the Supreme Master, under whom we hold 
sovereignty, histories will be laid bare of household 
tyrants as cruel as Amurath, and as savage as Nero, 
and as reckless and dissolute as Charles." This was 
a new note in literature. Mrs. Jameson and the Bronte 
sisters contributed much in the same key. Anne 

1 The Life of Mrs. Norton, by Miss Jane Gray Perkins (John 


Knight, a Quaker lady of Quiet House, Chelmsford, 
issued about 1847 a small leaflet boldly claiming a share 
for women in political freedom. There can be little 
doubt that the presence of a pure and virtuous young 
woman upon the throne had its influence in leading 
people to question seriously whether there was any real 
advantage to the nation at large in shutting out from 
direct political pipwer all women who were not queens. 
In 1848 J Mr. Disraeli, in the House of Commons, had 
said, " In a country governed by a woman where you 
allow women to form part of the other estate of the 
realm peeresses in their own right, for example 
where you allow women not only to hold land but to 
be ladies of the manor and hold legal courts where a 
woman by law may be a churchwarden and overseer of 
the poor I do not see, where she has so much to do 
with the State and Church, on what reasons, if you 
come to right, she has not a right to vote." 

Other influences were operating to open political 
activity to women. Their help and co-operation were 
warmly welcomed by the Anti-Corn Law League. 
Cobden, at one of the great meetings of the League held 
in Covent Garden Theatre in 1845, said that he wished 
women could vote. A few years later than this the 
Sheffield Female Political Association passed a re- 
solution in favour of women's suffrage, and presented 
a petition in this sense to the House of Lords. The 
refusal to allow women who had been duly appointed as 
delegates in the United States to take their places in 
the Anti-Slavery Congress held in London in 1840 
roused a great deal of controversy, especially as William 
Lloyd Garrison, the leader of the Anti-Slavery Move- 
ment in America, 2 declared that if the ladies were ex- 
cluded he would share their exclusion with them ; he 
did this, and sat with them in a side gallery, taking no 

1 The date of this speech is given in Miss Blackburn's Record 
of Woman's Suffrage as 1866, the only mistake I have found in her 
careful and faithful history. 

2 See the interesting picture in the staircase of the National 
Portrait Gallery, London. 


part in the discussion. The opponents of the women 
took refuge, as they have so often done before and 
since, in an affirmation that they were the special re- 
positories of the Divine Will on the subject, and de- 
clared that it was contrary to the ordinances of the 
Almighty that women should take part in the Congress. 
The treatment they had received in London naturally 
caused great indignation on the part of the American 
ladies, among whom were Elizabeth Cady Stanton 
and Lucretia Mott. When they returned to their own 
country they immediately began to work for the political 
enfranchisement of women, and the first Women's 
Rights Convention was held in the United States at 
Seneca Falls in 1848. This was the beginning of de- 
finite work for women's suffrage in the United 

In England in the 'fifties came the Crimean War, 
with the deep stirring of national feeling which accom- 
panied it, and the passion of gratitude and admiration 
which was poured forth on Miss Florence Nightingale 
for her work on behalf of our wounded soldiers. It 
was universally felt that there was work for women, 
even in w^ar the work of cleansing, setting in order, 
breaking down red tape, and soothing the vast sum of 
human suffering which every war is bound to cause. 
Miss Nightingale's work in war was work that never 
had been done until women came forward to do it, and 
her message to her countrywomen was educate your- 
selves, prepare, make ready ; never imagine that your 
task can be done by instinct, without training and pre- 
paration. Painstaking study, she insisted, was just 
as necessary as a preparation for women's work as 
for men's work ; and she bestowed the whole of the 
monetary gift offered her by the gratitude of the nation 
to form training-schools for nurses at St. Thomas's 
and King's College Hospitals. 

When a fire is once kindled many things will serve as 
fuel which to a superficial glance would seem to have 
no connection with it. The sufferings and torture of 
women during the Indian Mutiny heroically borne 


helped people to see that Empire is built on the lives of 
women as well as on the lives of men." 

" On the bones of the English 
The English flag is stayed'' 

means that women as well as men have laid down their 
lives for their country. 

In 1857 the movement among women for political 
recognition was stimulated in quite a different way. 
In that year the Divorce Act was passed, and, as is 
well known, set up by law a different moral standard 
for men and women. Under this Act, which is still in 
force (1911), a man can obtain the dissolution of his 
marriage if he can prove one act of infidelity on the 
part of his wife ; but a woman cannot get her marriage 
dissolved unless she can prove that her husband has 
been guilty both of infidelity and cruelty. Mr. Gladstone 
vehemently opposed this Bill. It is said that " in a 
ten hours' debate on a single clause he made no less than 
twenty-nine speeches, some of them of considerable 
length." 1 All these things prepared the way for the 
movement which took definite shape in the next decade. 



"All who live in a country should take an interest in that 
country, love that country, and the vote gives that sense 
of interest, fosters that love." Rt. Hon. W. E. Gladstone. 

THE women's suffrage question in 1860 was on the 
point of entering a new phase the phase of practical 
politics. Parliamentary Reform was again before the 
country ; the principles of representation were con- 
stantly discussed in newspapers, and in every social 
circle where intelligent men and women met. 

James Mill's article on " Government," referred to in 
Chapter I., has been described as being " out of sight 
1 Morley's Life of Gladstone, vol. i. p. 571. 


the most important in the series of events which cul- 
minated in the passing of the Reform Act of 1832." 1 
The works of his son, John Stuart Mill, had a similar 
influence on the series of events which led up to the 
passing of the Reform Act of 1867. But whereas James 
Mill had specifically excluded women from his argu- 
ment, John Mill as specifically and with great force and 
vigour included them. 

In his Political Economy, and in his collected essays, 
and, of course, in his Liberty, it was easy to perceive 
that he strongly condemned the condition of sub- 
ordination to which the mass of women had been from 
time immemorial condemned. But in his Representative 
Government, published in 1861, he put forward in a 
few eloquent pages of powerful argument the case for 
the extension of the suffrage to women, showing that 
all the arguments by which the principles of repre- 
sentative government were supported were equally 
applicable to woman. 2 

The volumes of his correspondence, published in 1908, 
show how constantly his mind dwelt on the grave in- 
justice to women involved by their exclusion from 
political rights, and also how deeply he was convinced 
that the whole of society loses by treating them as if 
they had no responsibility for the right conduct of 
national affairs. It was an enormous advantage to the 
whole women's movement, not only in England, but 
all over the world, that it had for its leader and 
champion a man in the front rank of political philo- 
sophers and thinkers. He formed a school at the 
universities, and in all centres of intellectual activity, 
and from that school a large number of the chief leaders 
and supporters of the women's movement have been 

As early as 1851 an essay on the " Enfranchisement of 
Women" had appeared in the Westminster Review. It 
had been written by Mrs. J. S. Mill, and took the form of 
a review of the proceedings of a Convention of Women 

1 James Mill : a Biography, by Alexander Bain, LL.D., p. 215. 
8 Representative Government, by J. S. Mill, pp. 175-180. 


held in Worcester, Massachusetts, in the previous year to 
promote the cause of the political enfranchisement of 

The essay is a complete and masterly statement of the 
case for the emancipation of women. The terminology 
is a little out of date, but the state of mind which she 
exposes is perennial. We can all, for instance, recognise 
the applicability of the following sentences to the 
present time : 

" For with what truth or rationality could the 
suffrage be termed universal while half the human 
species remain excluded from it ? To declare that a 
voice in the government is the right of all, and demand 
it only for a part the part, namely, to which the 
claimant belongs is to renounce even the appearance 
of principle. The Chartist, who denies the suffrage to 
women, is a Chartist only because he is not a lord ; he is 
one of those levellers who would level only down to 
themselves." x 

This essay, with its clear, pointed, and epigrammatic 
style, produced a great effect on the more cultivated 
section of public opinion. If Mrs. Mill had lived longer 
she would probably have inaugurated the practical organi- 
sation of a women's enfranchisement movement, but 
she died in the autumn of 1858. What her death meant 
to her husband he has left on record in glowing and 
touching words, and in his loneliness he endeavoured 
" because she would have wished it, to make the best 
of what life was left to him," to work on for her purposes 
with such diminished strength as could be derived from 
thoughts of her and communion with her memory." ! 

Shortly before the general election of 1865 Mr. Mill 
was invited by a considerable body of electors of the 
Borough of Westminster to offer himself as a candidate. 
In reply he made the plainest possible statement of his 
political views, including his conviction that women 
were entitled to representation in Parliament. It was 
the first time that women's suffrage had ever been 

1 Dissertations and Discussions, by J. S. Mill, vol. ii. p. 417. 

2 Autobiography, p. 241. 



brought before English electors, and the fact that 
after having announced himself as strongly in favour 
of it Mr. Mill was elected, gave a place to women's 
suffrage in practical politics. 

The situation in Parliament, as regards Parliamentary 
Reform, at the time of Mr. Mill's election was very 
like what it is now in respect of women's suffrage. 
Parliament had been playing with the subject for a 
great many years. Reform Bills had been introduced, 
voted for, and abandoned again and again. The real 
reformers were growing impatient. I, myself, heard 
John Bright say about this time or a little later that he 
began to think the best way of carrying a Reform Bill 
was to tell working men that " a good rifle could be 
bought for 2." Candidates who stood for election 
pledged themselves to Parliamentary Reform, but year 
after year went by and nothing was done. Each party 
brought forward Reform Bills, but neither party really 
wished to enfranchise the working classes. Before 1867 
the total electorate only numbered a little over one 
million voters. The Reform Bill of 1867 more than 
doubled this number. It is not in human nature for 
members of Parliament really to like a very large in- 
crease in the number of their constituents. Besides the 
extra trouble and expense involved, there was in 1865 
another deterrent terror. Those who held power 
feared the working classes. Working men were sup- 
posed to be the enemies of property, and working men 
were in an enormous numerical majority over all other 
classes combined. " You must not have the vote 
because there are so many of you " was a much more 
effective argument when used against working men than 
it is when used against women; because the working 
classes are fifteen or sixteen times more numerous 
than all other classes combined, whereas women 
are only slightly in excess of men. 1 On one excuse or 

1 The census of 1911 shows that the excess of women over men is 
in the proportion of 1068 women to 1000 men, and that this pro- 
portion has changed but little during the last hundred and ten 


another the Reform Bills constantly brought before 
Parliament were dropped or burked in one of the 
thousand ways open to the experienced Parliamentarian 
for getting rid of measures which he has to appear to 
support, but to which he is in reality opposed. The 
time had come, however, after 1865, when it became 
apparent that the game was up, and that a Reform 
Bill would have to be passed. It was to this Parliament 
that Mill was elected, and in which in 1867, as an amend- 
ment to the Reform Bill, he raised the question of the 
enfranchisement of women. His motion was to omit 
the word " man " and insert the word " person " in 
the enfranchising clause. Of this he says himself that 
it was by far the most important public service that 
he was able to perform as a member of Parliament. 
Seventy -three members voted with him and 196 
against him ; with the addition of pairs and tellers the 
total number supporting women's suffrage was over 
80. This amount of support surpassed all expectations. 
Before the debate and division it was uncertain whether 
women's suffrage would command more than a few 
stray votes in the House. Mr. Mill's masterly speech, 
grave and high-toned, made a deep impression. Perhaps 
the thing that pleased him most was the fact that John 
Bright voted with him. He was known to be an 
opponent of women's suffrage, but he was fairly won 
over by the force of Mill's speech. Those who watched 
him sitting in the corner seat of the front row on the 
left-hand side of the Speaker, just below Mr. Mill, saw 
his whole expression and demeanour change as the 
speech proceeded. His defiant, mocking expression 
changed to one that was serious and thoughtful ; no 
one but Mill ever had the moral and mental strength 
to wrestle with him again successfully. It was the 
first and last time he ever gave a vote for women's 

It is an oft-told tale how in the previous year a 
little committee of workers had been formed to promote 
a Parliamentary petition from women in favour of 
women's suffrage. It met in the house of Miss Garrett, 


(now Mrs. Garrett Anderson, M.D.), and included Mrs. 
Bodichon, Miss Emily Davies, Mrs. Peter Taylor, Miss 
Rosamond Davenport Hill, and other well-known 
women. They consulted Mr. Mill about the petition, 
and he promised to present it if they could collect as 
many as a hundred names. After a fortnight's work 
they secured 1499, including many of the most distin- 
guished women of the day, such as Mrs. Somerville, 
Frances Power Cobbe, Florence Nightingale, Harriet 
Martineau, Miss Swanwick, Mrs. Josephine Butler, 
Lady Anna Gore Langton, Mrs. Willian Grey. In 
June 1866 Miss Garrett and Miss Emily Davies took the 
petition down to the House, entering by way of West- 
minster Hall. They were a little embarrassed by the 
size of the roll in their charge, and deposited it with 
the old apple-woman, who hid it under her stall. The 
ladies did not know how to find Mr. Mill, when at that 
moment Mr. Fawcett passed through Westminster 
Hall and at once offered to go in search of him. Mr. 
Mill was much amused on his arrival when he found 
the petition was hidden away under the apple-woman's 
stall ; but he was greatly delighted by the large number 
of names which had been obtained, and exclaimed, 
" Ah, this I can brandish with great effect." l 

It was in 1867 that the Reform Bill was carried, and 
Mr. Mill's Women's Suffrage Amendment defeated on 
May 20th. The testing of the actual legal effect of the 
passing of the Bill upon the political status of women 
(already described in Chapter I.) took place in 1868. 
These events caused a great deal of thought and dis- 
cussion with regard to women's position in relation to 
the State and public duties in general ; and it is as 
certain as anything which is insusceptible of absolute 
proof can be, that to the interest excited by the claim 
of women to the Parliamentary vote was due the 
granting to them of the Municipal Franchise in 1869; 
and also that in 1870, when the first great Education 
Act was passed, they were not only given the right to 
vote for members of School Boards, but also the right 

1 Record of Women's Suffrage, by Helen Blackburn, pp. 53, 54, 55. 


to be elected upon them. At the first School Board 
election, which took place in London in November 1870, 
Miss Elizabeth Garrett, M.D., and Miss Emily Davies 
were returned as members. Miss Garrett was at the 
head of the poll in her constituency Marylebone. She 
polled more than 47,000 votes, the largest number, it 
was said at the time, which had ever been bestowed 
upon any candidate in any election in England. In 
Manchester Miss Becker was elected a member of the 
first School Board, and was continuously re-elected for 
twenty years, until her death in 1890. In Edinburgh 
Miss Flora Stevenson was elected to the first School 
Board, and was continuously re-elected for thirty- 
three years until her death in 1905. From the date 
of her election she was appointed by her colleagues to 
act as convener of some of their most important com- 
mittees, and in 1900 was unanimously elected the 
chairman of the board ; she retained this most honour- 
able and responsible post until the end of her 

The connection between the election of the ladies 
just mentioned and other instances might be added 
with the suffrage movement is strongly indicated by 
the fact that they were, without exception, the leading 
personal representatives of the suffrage movement in 
the various places in which they respectively lived. 
Miss Garrett and Miss Davies, as just described, helped to 
organise the suffrage petition, which they handed to 
Mr. Mill in 1866 ; Miss Becker was the head and front 
of the suffrage movement in Manchester, and Miss 
Flora Stevenson in Edinburgh. These ladies had taken 
an active part in starting the women's suffrage societies 
in their own towns. Five important societies came 
into existence almost simultaneously in London, 
Manchester, Edinburgh, Bristol, and Birmingham, and 
as they almost immediately devised a plan for com- 
bining individual responsibility with united action, they 
formed the nucleus of the National Union of Women's 
Suffrage Societies, which has become the largest organisa- 
tion of the kind in the United Kingdom, and in October 


1911 numbered 305 societies, a number which is con- 
stantly and rapidly increasing. 

With the suffrage work carried on by the societies, 
other work for improving the legal status of women, 
resisting encroachments upon their constitutional 
liberties, and improving their means of education went 
on with vigour, sobriety, and enthusiasm ; these 
qualities were combined in a remarkable degree, and 
were beyond all praise. It has been remarked that 
the successful conduct of every great change needs the 
combination of the spirit of order with the spirit of 
audacity. It was the good fortune of the women's 
movement in England to secure both these. The 
suffrage societies from the first saw the necessity of 
keeping to suffrage work only ; but the same individuals 
in a different capacity were labouring with heroic 
persistence and untiring zeal to lift up the conditions of 
women's lives in other ways ; thus to Mrs. Jacob Bright, 
Mrs. Wolstenholme Elmy, Mrs. Duncan M'Laren, and 
Mrs. Pochin, we owe the first Married Women's Property 
Act, and also the Guardianship of Children Act; tc 
Mrs. Bodichon and Miss Davies, Henry Sidgwick and 
Russell Gurney, the opening of university education to 
women ; to Miss Garrett (now Mrs. Anderson), Dr. 
Elizabeth Blackwell, and Miss Jex Blake, the opening 
of the medical profession ; to Mrs. Josephine Butler, 
and Mr. and Mrs. Sheldon Amos, Sir James Stanfeld, 
and Mr. James Stuart, the repeal of the Contagious 
Diseases Acts (passed in 1866 and 1868) ; to Mrs. William 
Grey, Miss Sherriff and Miss Gurney, the creation of 
good secondary schools for girls. I am well aware 
that in this bald recital I have omitted the names of 
many noble, conscientious, and self-sacrificing workers 
for the great causes to which they had devoted them- 
selves ; I cannot even attempt to make my list ex- 
haustive ; I have but selected from a very large number, 
all ardent suffragists, a few names that stand out pre- 
eminently in my memory among the glorious company 
whose efforts laid the foundations on which we at the 
present day are still building the superstructure of 


equal opportunity and equal justice for women and 

As an illustration of how the tone has changed in 
regard to the personal and proprietary rights of women 
I can give a little story which fell within my own ex- 
perience. In the 'seventies I was staying with my 
father at a time when he had convened in his house a 
meeting of Liberal electors of East Suffolk. We were 
working then for a Married Women's Property Bill. The 
first Act passed in 1870 gave a married woman the 
right to possess her earnings, but not any other property. 
I had petition forms with me, and thought the " Liberal " 
meeting would afford me a good opportunity of getting 
signatures to it. So I took it round and explained its 
aim to the quite average specimens of the Liberal 
British farmer. " Am I to understand you, ma'am, 
that if this Bill passes, and my wife have a matter of a 
hundred pound left to her, I should have to ask her for 
it ? " said one of them. The idea appeared monstrous 
that a man could not take his wife's 100 without even 
going through the form of asking her for it. 

But we were making way steadily. It is true that 
Mr. Mill was not re-elected in 1868, but Mr. Jacob Bright 
succeeded him as the leader in the House of Commons 
of the women's suffrage movement. The second 
reading of his, the first Women's Suffrage Bill, was 
carried on May 4, 1870, by 124 to 91. Further pro- 
gress was, however, prevented, mainly in consequence 
of the opposition of the Government, and on the motion 
to go into committee on May 12, the Bill was defeated 
by 220 to 94. 

From the beginning women's suffrage had never been 
a party question. In the first division, that on Mr. 
Mill's Amendment to the Reform Bill, the 73 members 
who voted for women's suffrage included about 10 
Conservatives, and one of them, the Rt. Hon. Russell 
Gurney, Q.C., Recorder of London, was one of the 
tellers in the division. The great bulk of the supporters 
of the principle of women's suffrage were then and 
still are Liberals and Radicals, but from the outset we 


have always had an influential group of Conservative 
supporters. And it is indicative of the general growth 
of the movement that among the large majority secured 
for the second reading of Sir George Kemp's Bill in 
May 5, 1911, 79 were Conservatives, a number in 
excess of the total of those who supported Mr. Mill's 
amendment in 1867. Sir Stafford Northcote (afterwards 
Lord Iddesleigh) was among the friends of women's 
suffrage, and so was Sir Algernon Borthwick (afterwards 
Lord Glenesk), the proprietor and editor of The Morning 
Post. Support from the Conservative side of the house 
was greatly encouraged in 1873 by a letter written by 
Mr. Disraeli in reply to a memorial signed by over 
11,000 women. The memorial had been forwarded by 
Mr. William Gore Langton, M.P., and was thus acknow- 
ledged : 

" DEAR GORE LANGTON, I was much honoured by receiving 
from your hands the memorial signed by 11,000 women of 
England among them some illustrious names thanking me 
for my services in attempting to abolish the anomaly that the 
Parliamentary franchise attached to a household or property 
qualification, when possessed by a woman, should not be exercised, 
though in all matters of local government when similarly 
qualified she exercises this right. As I believe this anomaly 
to be injurious to the best interests of the country, 1 trust to see 
it removed by the wisdom of Parliament. Yours sincerely, 


This was written in 1873 in immediate prospect of 
the dissolution of Parliament, which took place in 
February 1874, and placed Mr. Disraeli in power for 
the first time. 

These were days of active propaganda for all the 
suffrage societies. A hundred meetings were held on 
the first six months of 1873, a large number for that 
time, though it would be considered nothing now. All 
the experienced political men who supported women's 
suffrage told us that when the 1874 Parliament came to 
an end a change of Government was highly probable, a 
new Liberal Government would be in power, and would 
certainly deal with the question of representation 


that then would be the great opportunity, the psycho- 
logical moment, for the enfranchisement of women. 
The agricultural labourers were about to be enfranchised 
and the claim of women to share in the benefits of 
representative government was at least as good, and 
would certainly be listened to. With these hopes we 
approached the election of 1880. 



" We have filled the well-fed with good things, and the hungry 
we have sent empty away." From the Politician's Magnificat. 

THE year 1880 opened cheerfully for suffragists. There 
was a series of great demonstrations of women only, 
beginning with one in the Free Trade Hall, Manchester, 
in February. The first little bit of practical success 
too within the United Kingdom came this year, for 
suffrage was extended to women in the Isle of Man. 
At first it was given only to women freeholders, but after 
a few years' experience of its entirely successful operation 
all feeling of opposition to it died away, and it was 
extended to women householders. The representative 
system of the Isle of Man is one of the oldest in the 
world, and the House of Keys is of even greater antiquity 
than the House of Commons. 

The general election took place in March and April 
1880, and the Liberals were returned to power with a 
large majority. Mr. Gladstone became Prime Minister, 
and it was well known that the extension of Household 
Suffrage in the counties would be an important feature 
in the programme of the new Government. Mr. Goschen 
declined to join Mr. Gladstone's Government, because 
he was opposed to the extension of the Parliamentary 
franchise to the agricultural labourers. It is strange 
how the whirligig of time brings about its revenges. 
Mr. Goschen held out to the last against the enfranchise- 
ment of the agricultural labourers, but after the election 


of 1906 he publicly congratulated a meeting of Unionist 
Free Traders on " the magnificent stand the agricultural 
labourers had made for Free Trade ! " If his counsels 
had prevailed in 1880, not one of these men would have 
had a vote and could have made a stand for Free Trade 
or anything else. But in politics memories are short, 
and no one reminded Lord Goschen, as he had then be- 
came, of his stand against the labourers' vote a few 
years earlier. 

As the time approached when the Government of 
1880 would introduce their Bill to extend household 
suffrage to counties, the exertions of the women's 
suffragists were redoubled. One of the methods of 
propaganda adopted was the bringing forward of re- 
solutions favourable to women's suffrage at the meet- 
ings and representative gatherings of political associa- 
tions of both the great parties. 

Resolutions favourable to an extension of the Parlia- 
mentary suffrage to women were carried at the Parlia- 
mentary Reform Congress at Leeds in October 1883, at 
the National Liberal Federation at Bristol in 1883, at 
the National Reform Union, Manchester, January 1884, 
at the National Union of Conservative Associations 
(Scotland) at Glasgow in 1887, at the National Union 
of Conservative and Constitutional Associations' Annual 
Conference (Oxford) 1887, and so on yearly, or at very 
frequent intervals, down to the present time. 1 

At the Reform Conference at Leeds in 1883, presided 
over by Mr. John Morley, and attended by 2000 delegates 
from all parts of the country, it was moved by Dr. 
Crosskey of Birmingham, and seconded by Mr. Walter 
M'Laren, to add to the resolution supporting household 
suffrage in the counties the following rider : " That in 
the opinion of this meeting, any measure for the extension 
of the suffrage should confer the franchise on women who, 
'possessing^ the qualifications which entitle men to vote, have 
now the right of voting in all matters of local government." 

It was pointed out by Mr. M'Laren (now a member of 
the House of Commons and one of our mast valued 
1 Record of Women's Suffrage, p. 190, by Helen Blackburn. 


supporters) that in the previous session a memorial 
signed by 110 members of Parliament, of whom the 
chairman, Mr. John Morley, was one, had been handed 
to Mr. Gladstone, to the effect that no measure for 
the extension of the franchise would be satisfactory 
unless it included women. Mrs. Cobden Unwin and Mrs. 
Helen Clark, the daughters respectively of Richard 
Cobden and John Bright, spoke in support of the rider, 
which was carried by a very large majority. But when 
the Reform Bill of 1884 came before the House of 
Commons it was found that the inclusion of women 
within the Bill had an inexorable opponent in the 
Prime Minister, Mr. Gladstone. He did not oppose 
Women's Suffrage in principle. In 1871 he had taken 
part in a woman's suffrage debate in the House of 
Commons and had said : 

" So far as I am able to form an opinion of the general tone 
and opinion of our law in these matters, where the peculiar 
relations of men and women are concerned, that law does less 
than justice to women, and great mischief, misery, and scandal 
result from that state of things in many of the occurrences and 
events of life. . . . If it should be found possible to arrange a 
safe and well-adjusted alteration of the law as to political power, 
the man who shall attain that object, and who shall see his 
purpose carried onward to its consequences in a more just 
arrangement of the provisions of other laws bearing upon the 
condition and welfare of women, will, in my opinion, be a real 
benefactor to his country." 

It is somewhat difficult to deduce from this statement 
the condition of the mind from which it proceeded ; but 
it was generally thought to mean that Mr. Gladstone 
believed that women had suffered practical grievances 
owing to their exclusion from representation, and that 
it would be for their benefit and for the welfare of the 
country if a moderate measure of women's suffrage 
could be passed into law. When, however, it came to 
moving a definite amendment to include women in the 
Reform Bill of 1884, the most vehement opposition 
was offered by Mr. Gladstone ; not indeed even then 
to the principle of women's suffrage, but to its being 


added to the Bill before the House. The idea that 
household suffrage was not democratic had not then 
been invented. The Prime Minister's line was that 
the Government had introduced into the Bill " as much 
as it could safely carry." The unfortunate nautical 
metaphor was repeated again and again : " Women's 
suffrage would overweight the ship." "The cargo 
which the vessel carries is, in our opinion, a cargo as 
large as she can safely carry." He accordingly threw 
the women overboard. So different are the traditions of 
the politician from the heroic traditions of the seaman 
who, by duty and instinct alike, is always prompted 
in moments of danger to save the women first. 

Comment has been made on the curious ambiguity 
of the language in which Mr. Gladstone had supported 
the principle of women's suffrage in 1871. There was 
no ambiguity in what he said about it in 1884. In 
language perfectly plain and easily understood he said, 
" I offer it [Mr. Woodall's Women's Suffrage Amendment] 
the strongest opposition in my power, and I must dis- 
claim and renounce responsibility for the measure [i.e. 
the Government Reform Bill] should my honourable 
friend succeed in inducing the committee to adopt the 
amendment." This was on June 10, 1884. The de- 
cision resulted in a crushing defeat for women's suffrage. 
The numbers were 271 against Mr. Woodall's amend- 
ment to 135 for it. Among the 271 were 104 Liberals 
who were pledged supporters of suffrage. Three 
members of the Government, who were known friends 
of women's suffrage, did not vote at all, but walked out 
of the House before the division. To one of them 
Mr. Gladstone wrote the next day pointing out that 
to abstain from supporting the Government in a critical 
division was equivalent to a resignation of office. But 
he added that a crisis in foreign affairs was approaching 
which might be of the deepest importance to '" the 
character and honour of the country and to the law, 
the concord and possibly even the peace of Europe. 
It would be most unfortunate were the minds of men 
at such a juncture to be disturbed by the resignation of 


a cabinet minister and of two other gentlemen holding 
offices of great importance." He, therefore, was pro- 
posing to his colleagues that he should be authorised 
to request the three gentlemen referred to, to do the 
Government the favour of retaining their respective 
offices. As they had never resigned them, this petition 
that they should withdraw their resignation seemed a 
little superfluous. 

The blow to women's suffrage dealt by the defeat of 
Mr. WoodalTs Amendment to the 1884 Reform Bill was 
a heavy one, and was deeply felt by the whole move- 
ment. But though fatal to immediate Parliamentary 
success, the events of 1884 strengthened our cause in 
the country. Everything which draws public attention 
to the subject of representation and to the political 
helplessness of the unrepresented makes people ask 
themselves more and more " Why are women excluded ? " 
" If representative government is good for men, why 
should it be bad for women ? " " Why do members of 
Parliament lightly break their promises to non- voters ? " 
It will be remembered that the Reform Bill of 1884 
was not finally passed until late in the autumn. While 
the final stages of the measure were still pending, the 
Trades Union Congress meeting at Aberdeen passed a 
resolution, with only three dissentients, " That this Con- 
gress is strongly of opinion that the franchise should be 
extended to women rate-payers" Thus at that critical 
juncture the working men's most powerful organisation 
stood by the women whom the Liberal party had be- 

New political forces made their appearance very 
soon after the passing of the Reform Act of 1884, which 
have had an almost immeasurable effect in promot- 
ing the women's suffrage cause. The Reform Act had 
contained a provision to render paid canvassing illegal, 
and in 1883 Sir Henry James (afterwards Lord James 
of Hereford) had introduced, on behalf of the Govern- 
ment, and carried a very stringent Corrupt Practices 
Act. Its main feature was to place a definite limit, 
proportioned to the number of electors in each con- 


stituency, upon the authorised expenditure of the 
candidates. Political agents and party managers had 
been accustomed to employ a large number of men as 
paid canvassers, and to perform the great amount of 
clerical and other drudgery connected with electoral 
organisation. The law now precluded paid canvassing 
altogether, and, by limiting the authorised expenditure, 
severely restrained the number of people who could be 
employed on ordinary business principles, of so much 
cash for so much work. But the work had got to be 
done, or elections would be lost. It was necessary, 
therefore, to look round and see how and by whom the 
work could be performed now that the fertilising shower 
of gold was withdrawn. The brilliant idea occurred 
to Lord Randolph Churchill, Sir Algernon Borthwick, 
and others to obtain for their own party the services of 
ladies. This was the germ of the organisation which 
soon became known by the name of the Primrose 
League. Ladies were encouraged to take an active 
part in the electoral organisation ; they canvassed, 
they spoke, they looked up " removals," and " out 
voters," and did all kinds of important political work 
without fee or reward of any kind, and, therefore, 
without adding to candidates' expenses. The ladies 
were highly successful from the very first. They 
showed powers of work and of political organisation 
which heretofore had been unsuspected. Their political 
friends were delighted. The anger of their political 
opponents was unmeasured. It was then that the 
expression " filthy witches " was used in relation to 
the Dames of the Primrose League by an excited member 
of the Liberal party, who attributed his defeat in a 
contested election to their machinations. But anger 

Slickly gave way to a more practical frame of mind, 
the Conservatives could make good use of women 
for electoral work, Liberals could do so also and would 
not be left behind. The Women's Liberal Federation * 

1 A few isolated associations of Liberal women had existed 
before this. There was one at Bristol started in 1881 ; but nothing 
was done on an extended scale till 1886. 


was formed in 1886 under the Presidency of Mrs. 
Gladstone, supported on the executive committee 
by other ladies, mainly the wives of the Liberal leaders. 
The idea of the officers of this association from the 
outset was that the object of its existence was to promote 
the interests of the Liberal party, or, as Mrs. Gladstone 
once put it, "to help our husbands." Events, however, 
soon followed which created great dissatisfaction among 
the rank and file with this limited range of political 
activity. There were many women in the association 
who desired not merely to help their party but to 
educate it, by promoting Liberal principles, and of these 
the extension of representative government to women 
was one of the most important. 

The Federation was formed in 1886 ; the very next 
year a women's suffrage resolution was moved at the 
annual council meeting, but was defeated. The same 
thing happened in 1888 and 1889, the influence of the 
official Liberal ladies being used against it. In 1890, 
however, a women's suffrage resolution was carried by 
a large majority. The earnest suffragists in the Federa- 
tion continued their work, and in 1892 they became so 
powerful that fifteen of the members of the executive 
committee, who had opposed suffrage being taken up 
as part of the work of the Federation, did not offer 
themselves for re-election. Mrs. Gladstone, however, 
did not withdraw, and continued to hold the office of 
president. The retiring members of the executive 
took a considerable number of the local associations 
with them, and in 1893 these formed a new organisation 
called the National Women's Liberal Association. 
Some of those who formed this seceding Women's 
Liberal Association were definitely opposed to Women's 
Suffrage ; others thought that while in principle the 
enfranchisement of women was right, the time had not 
come for its practical adoption. In practice, however, 
the Women's Liberal Federation has stood for suffrage 
with ever-increasing firmness since 1890, while the 
Women's Liberal Association has continued to oppose it. 

The formation of women's political associations was 


encouraged by party leaders of all shades of politics. 
There is probably not a single party leader, however 
strongly he may oppose the extension of the suffrage 
to women, who has not encouraged the active participa- 
tion of women in electoral work. The Liberal party 
issues a paper of printed directions to those who are 
asking to do electoral work in its support. The first 
of these directions is : Make all possible use of every 
available woman in your locality. 

Suffragists contend that a party which can do this 
cannot long maintain that women are by the mere fact 
of their sex unfit to be entrusted with a Parliamentary 

Even as long ago as his first Midlothian campaign, 
and before any definite political organisations for 
women existed, Mr. Gladstone had urged the women 
of his future constituency to come out and bear their 
part in the coming electoral struggle. Speaking to a 
meeting of women in Dalkeith in 1879 he said : 

" Therefore, I think in appealing to you ungrudgingly to open 
your own feelings and bear your own part in a political crisis 
like this, we are making no inappropriate demand, but are 
beseeching you to fulfil the duties which belong to you, which 
so far from involving any departure from your character as 
women, are associated with the fulfilment of that character and 
the performance of those duties, the neglect of which would 
in future years be a source of pain and mortification, and the 
accomplishment of which would serve to gild your future years 
with sweet remembrances and to warrant you in hoping that 
each in your own place and sphere has raised your voice for 
justice, and has striven to mitigate the sorrows and misfortunes 
of mankind." 

In less ornate language Mr. Asquith, in January 1910, 
thanked the women of Fife for the aid they had given 
him and his cause during the election, and said that 
" their healthy influence on the masculine members 
of the community had had not a little to do with 
keeping things in a satisfactory condition." 

The organised political work of women has grown 
since 1884, and has become so valuable that none of the 


parties can afford to do without it or to alienate it. 
Short of the vote itself this is one of the most important 
political weapons which can possibly have been put 
into our hands. At the outset, while the women's 
political societies were still young, and were hardly 
conscious of their power, the women's suffrage move- 
ment benefited greatly by their existence. If the 
Women's Liberal Federation had existed in 1884, the 
104 Liberals who voted against Mr. Woodall's amend- 
ment would have probably decided that honesty was 
the best policy. In 1892 Sir Albert Rollit introduced a 
Women's Suffrage Bill, as nearly as possible on the lines 
of the Conciliation Bill of 1910-11. Before the second 
reading great efforts were made by the Liberal party 
machine to secure a crushing defeat for this Bill on its 
second reading : a confidential circular was sent out 
to all Liberal candidates in the Home Counties advising 
them not to allow Liberal women to speak on their 

Elatforms lest they should advocate " female suffrage." 
a addition to this, Mr. Gladstone was induced to write 
a letter addressed to Mr. Samuel Smith, M.P., against 
the Bill, in which he departed from his previous view- 
that the political work done by women would be quite 
consistent with womanly character and duties, and 
would "gild their future years with sweet remem- 
brances." He now said that voting would, he feared, 
" trespass upon their delicacy, their purity, their re- 
finement, the elevation of their whole nature." 

In addition to all this a whip was sent out signed by 
twenty members of Parliament, ten from each side of 
the House, earnestly beseeching members to be in their 
places when Sir Albert Rollit's Bill came on and to 
vote against the second reading. But when the division 
came, notwithstanding all the unusual efforts that had 
been made, it was only defeated by 23. A general 
election was known to be not very far off, and members 
who were expecting zealous and efficient support from 
women in their constituencies did not care to alienate 
it by denying to women the smallest and most ele- 
mentary of political privileges. In surprising numbers 



(as compared with 1884) they stood to their guns, and 
though they did not save the Bill, the balance against 
it was so small that it was an earnest of future victory. 
This division in 1892 was the last time a Women's 
Suffrage Bill was defeated on a straight issue in the 
House of Commons. Mr. Faithfull Begg's Bill in 1897 
was carried on second reading by 228 votes to 157. 
After this date direct frontal attacks on the principle 
of women's suffrage were avoided in the House of 
Commons. The anti-suffragists in Parliament used every 
possible trick and stratagem to prevent the subject 
being discussed and divided on in the House. In this 
they were greatly helped by Mr. Labouchere, to whom 
it was a congenial task to shelve the women's suffrage 
question. On one occasion he and his little group of 
supporters talked for hours about a Bill dealing with 
" verminous persons," because it stood before a 
Suffrage Bill, and he thus succeeded in preventing our 
Bill from coming before the House. 


" Wake up, Mother Country." Speech by King George V. when 
Prince of Wales. 

THE debate on Sir Albert Eollit's Bill in 1892 brought 
out a full display of oratorical power from all quarters 
of the House, both for and against women's suffrage. 
Mr. James Bryce, Mr. Asquith, and Sir Henry James 
(afterwards Lord James) spoke against the Bill. Mr. 
Balfour, Mr. (now Lord) Courtney, and Mr. Wyndham 
supported it. When Mr. Bryce spoke he used the timid 
argument that women's suffrage was an untried 
experiment. " It is a very bold experiment," he said ; 
" our colonies are democratic in the highest degree ; 
why do they not try it ? " and again, " This is an 
experiment so large and bold that it ought to be tried by 
some other country first." Mr. Asquith, in the course 


of his speech, said much the same thing : " We have 
no experience to guide us one way or the other." Mr. 
Goldwin Smith, an extra-Parliamentary opponent of 
women's suffrage, pointed, in an article, to its solitary 
example in the State of Wyoming, where it had been 
adopted in 1869, and asked why, if suffrage had 
been a success in Wyoming, its example had not 
been followed by other states immediately abutting on 
its borders. 

Now it has frequently been noticed that when this 
line of argument is adopted it seems to be a sort of 
" mascot " for women's suffrage. When Mr. Bryce 
inquired in 1892 " why our great democratic colonies 
had not tried women's suffrage," his speech was followed 
in 1893 by the adoption of women's suffrage in New 
Zealand and in South Australia. When Mr. Goldwin 
Smith asked why the States which were in nearest 
neighbourhood to Wyoming had not followed her 
example, three States in this position, namely Colorado 
in 1893, Utah in 1895, and Idaho in 1896, very rapidly 
did so. When Sir F. S. Powell, in 1907, said in the 
House of Commons that no country in Europe had 
ever ventured on the dangerous experiment of en- 
franchising its women, women's suffrage was granted 
in Finland the same year, and in Norway the year 
following. When Mrs. Humphry Ward wrote in 1908 
that our cause in the United States was " in process of 
defeat and extinction," this was followed by the most 
important suffrage victories ever won in America 
the States of Washington in 1910, and California in 

The question arises why so well informed and careful 
a political controversalist as Mr. James Bryce spoke as 
he did in 1892 of the fact that none of our great demo- 
cratic colonies had adopted women's suffrage, in evident 
ignorance of the fact that two at any rate were on the 
point of doing so. The answer is probably to be found 
in the attitude of the anti-suffrage press. No body of 
political controversialists are so badly served by their 
own press as the anti-suffragists. The anti-suffrage 


press appears to act on the assumption that if they say 
nothing about a political event it is the same as if it had 
not happened. Therefore, while they give prominence 
to any circumstances which they imagine likely to be 
injurious to suffrage, they either say nothing about 
those facts which indicate its growing force and volume, 
or record them in such a manner that they escape the 
observation of the general reader. The result is that 
only the suffragists, who are in constant communica- 
tion with their comrades in various parts of the world 
and also have their own papers, are kept duly informed, 
not only of what has happened, but of what is likely 
to happen. Mr. Bryce cannot have known of the 
imminence of the success of women's suffrage in New 
Zealand and South Australia in 1892. Mrs. Humphry 
Ward did not know in February 1909 that women's 
suffrage had actually been carried in Victoria, and 
had received the royal assent in 1908. She could have 
known very little of the real strength of the suffrage 
movement in the United States, when she said it was 
virtually dead, just at the moment when it was about 
to give the most unmistakable proofs of energy and 
vigour. For all this ignorance the anti-suffrage press 
of London is mainly responsible. " Things are what 
they are and their consequences will be what they will 
be," whether the newspapers print them or not, and 
to leave the controversialists on your own side in 
ignorance of facts of capital importance is a strange way 
of showing political allegiance. 1 

It is a mistake to represent that women's suffrage 
was brought about in New Zealand suddenly or, as it 
were, by accident. The w r omen of New Zealand did not, 
as has sometimes been said, wake up one fine morning 
in 1893 and find themselves enfranchised. Sustained, 
self-sacrificing, painstaking, and well-organised work 
for women's suffrage had been going on in the Colony 

1 An important new departure in journalism was taken by The 
Standard in October 1911. This paper now devotes more than 
a page daily to a full statement both of events and arguments 
bearing on all sides of the suffrage and other women's questions. 


for many years. 1 The germ of it may be traced even 
as early as 1843, and many of the most distinguished 
men whose names are connected with New Zealand 
history as true empire-builders have been identified 
with the movement, including Mr. John Ballance, Sir 
Julias Vogel, Sir R. Stout, Sir John Hall, and Sir 
George Grey. It is curious that Mi. Richard Seddon, 
under whose Premiership women's suffrage was finally 
carried, was not at that time (1893) a believer in it. 
He was a Thomas who had to see before he could be- 
lieve, but when he had once had experience of women's 
suffrage, he was unwearied in proclaiming his confidence 
in it. When he was in England in 1902 for King 
Edward's Coronation he hardly ever spoke in public 
without bearing his testimony to the success of women's 
suffrage. Much good seed had been sown in New Zealand 
by Mrs. Miiller, an English lady, who landed in Nelson 
in 1850. One of her articles, signed " Femina " (she 
was obliged to preserve her anonymity for reasons of 
domestic tranquillity), won the attention of John Stuart 
Mill, and drew from him a most encouraging letter, 
and the gift of his book The Subjection of Women. 
Mrs. Miiller died in 1902, and thus had the opportunity 
of seeing in operation for nearly ten years the successful 
operation of the reform for which she had been one of 
the earliest workers. An American lady, Mrs. Mary 
Clement Leavitt, visited New Zealand in 1885 on behalf 
of the Women's Christian Temperance Union. Mrs. 
Leavitt was a great organiser and arranged the whole 
of the work of the Temperance Union in definite " De- 
partments," and a general superintendent was appointed 
to each. There was a Franchise Department, the 
general superintendent of which was Mrs. Sheppard, 
who, from 1887, became an indefatigable and, at the 
same time, a cautious and sensible worker for the ex- 
tension of the Parliamentary franchise to women. 
She was in communication with Sir John Hall and other 

1 See Outlines of the Women's Franchise Movement in Neio Zealand, 
by W. Sydney Smith. Whitecombe & Tombs, Ltd., Christchurch, 
N.Z. 1905. 


Parliamentary leaders, and kept in close touch with 
the whole movement until it w r as successful. 

Just as it is now in England with us, differences arose 
among New Zealand suffragists as to how much suffrage 
women ought to have, or at any rate for how much 
would it be wise to ask, and the parties were called 
the "half loafers" and the "whole loafers." The 
" no bread " party watched these differences just as 
they do in England, and tried unsuccessfully to profit 
by them. In the debate on Sir John Hall's Women's 
Suffrage resolution hi 1890, Mr. W. P. Reeves, so long 
known in England as the Agent - General for New 
Zealand, and later as the Director of the London School 
of Economics, and also as an excellent friend of women's 
suffrage, announced himself to be a " half loafer " ; 
indeed he advocated the restriction of the franchise to 
such women, over twenty-one years of age, who had 
passed the matriculation examination of the university. 
There is an Arabic proverb to the effect that the world 
is divided into three classes " the immovable, the 
movable, and those who actually move." It is unwise 
to despair of the conversion of any anti-suffragist unless 
he has proved himself to belong to the " immovables." 
In 1890 Mr. Beeves, now so good a suffragist, had only 
advanced to the point of advocating the enfranchisement 
of university women. His proposal for a high edu- 
cational suffrage test for women did not meet with 
support. It was rejected by more robust suffragists 
as " not even half a loaf, only a ginger nut." The 
anti-suffragists used the same arguments which they 
use with us. They professed themselves to be intimately 
acquainted with the views of the Almighty on the 
question of women voting. " It was contrary to the 
ordinance of God " ; women politicians were represented 
as driving a man from his home because it would be 
infested " with noisy and declamatory women.'' After 
the Bill had passed both Houses a solemn petition was 
presented by anti-suffragists, who were members of 
the Legislative Council, asking the Governor to with- 
hold his assent on the ground that " it would seriously 


affect the rights of property and embarrass the finances 
of the colony, thereby injuriously affecting the public 
creditor." Others protested that it was self-evident, 
that women's suffrage must lead to domestic discord 
and the neglect of home life. Of course all the anti- 
suffragists were certain that women did not want the 
vote, and would not use it even if it were granted to 

The French gentleman who called himself Max O'Rell 
was touring New Zealand at the time, and deplored 
that one of the fairest spots on God's earth was going 
to be turned into a howling wilderness by women's 
suffrage. Mr. Goldwin Smith wrote that he gave 
women's suffrage ten years in New Zealand, and by 
that time it would have wrought such havoc with the 
home and domestic life that the best minds in the 
country would be devising means of getting rid of it. 
A New Zealand gentleman, named Bakewell, wrote an 
article in The Nineteenth Century for February 1894, con- 
taining a terrible jeremiad about the melancholy results 
to be expected in the Dominion from women's suffrage. 
The last words of his article were, " We shall probably 
for some years to come be a dreadful object lesson to 
the rest of the British Empire." This was the prophecy. 
What have the facts been ? New Zealand has become 
an object-lesson an object-lesson of faithful member- 
ship of the Imperial group, a daughter State of which 
the mother country is intensely proud. Does not every- 
body know that New Zealand is prosperous and happy 
and loyal to the throne and race to which she owes 
her origin. 1 New Zealand was the first British Colony 
to enfranchise her women, and was also the first British 
Colony to send her sons to stand side by side with the 
sons of Great Britain in the battlefields of South Africa ; 
she was also the first British Colony to cable the offer of a 
battleship to the mother country in the spring of 1909. 
She, with Australia, was the first part of the British 
Empire to devise and carry out a truly national system 

1 See Report by Sir Charles Lucas, who visited New Zealand on 
behalf of the Colonial Office in 1907. 


of defence, seeking the advice of the first military 
expert of the mother country, Lord Kitchener, to help 
them to do it on efficient lines. The women are de- 
manding that they should do their share in the great 
national work of defence by undergoing universal 
ambulance training. 1 

New Zealand and Australia have, since they adopted 
women's suffrage, inaugurated many important social 
and economic reforms, among which may be mentioned 
wages boards the principle of the minimum wage 
applied to women as well as to men and the establish- 
ment of children's courts for juvenile offenders. They 
have also purged their laws of some of the worst of the 
enactments injurious to women. If it were needed 
to rebut the preposterous nonsense urged by anti- 
suffragists against women's suffrage in New Zealand 
eighteen years ago, it is sufficient to quote the un- 
emotional terms of the cable which appeared from New 
Zealand in The Times of July 28, 1911 : 

" Parliament was opened today. Lord Islington, the Governor, 
in his speech, congratulated the Dominion on its continued 
prosperity. The increase in the material well-being of the 
people, was, he said, encouraging, and there was every reason 
to expect a continuance and even an augmentation of the pro- 
sperity of the trade and industry of the Dominion. . . . The 
results of registration under the universal defence training 
scheme were satisfactory. The spirit in which this call for 
patriotism had been met was highly commendable." 

The testimony concerning the practical working of 
women's suffrage in Australia and New Zealand is all 
of one kind. It may be summarised in a single sentence, 
" Not one of the evils so confidently predicted of it 
has actually happened." The effect on home life is 
universally said to have been good. The birth-rate in 
New Zealand has steadily increased since 1899, and it 
has now, next to Australia, the lowest infantile mortality 
in the world. In South Australia, where women have 
been enfranchised since 1893, the infantile death-rate 

1 See Colonial Statesmen and Votes for Women, published by The 
Freedom League, p. 6. 


has also been reduced from 130 in the 1000 to half 
that number. Our own anti-suffragists are quite 
capable of representing that this argument means that 
we are so foolish as to suppose that if a mother drops 
a paper into a ballot-box every few years she thereby 
prolongs the life of her infant. Of course we do nothing 
of the kind ; but we do say that to give full citizenship 
to women deepens in them the sense of responsibility, 
and they will be more likely to apply to their duties a 
quickened intelligence and a higher sense of the im- 
portance of the work entrusted to them as women. 
The free woman makes the best wife and the most 
careful mother. 

The confident prediction that women when en- 
franchised would not take the trouble to record their 
votes has been falsified. The figures given in the 
official publication, The New Zealand Year Book; are as 
follows : 










1 59,780 



This table shows that men and women who are on 
the electoral roll vote in almost the same proportion. 
The number of votes actually polled compared with 
the number on the register is, of course, to some extent 
affected by the number of constituencies in which there 
is no contest, or in which the result is regarded as 
a foregone conclusion ; but this consideration affects 
both sexes alike. It is impossible for reasons of space 
to enter in detail in this little book upon the history 
in each of the Australian States of the adoption of 


women's suffrage. But it is well known that every one 
of the States forming the Commonwealth of Australia 
has now enfranchised its women, and that one of the 
first acts of the Commonwealth Parliament in 1902 
was to grant the suffrage to women. The complete list 
of dates of women's enfranchisement in New Zealand 
and Australia will be found in The Brief Review of tfie 
Women's Suffrage Movement, which concludes this 
little book. 

When the Premiers and other political leaders from 
the overseas Dominions of Great Britain were in 
London for the Coronation and Imperial Conference of 
1911, the representatives of Australia and New Zealand 
frequently expressed both in public and in private 
their entire satisfaction with the results of women's 
suffrage. Mr. Fisher, the Premier of the Common- 
wealth, constantly spoke in this sense : " There is no 
Australian politician who would nowadays dare to 

fet up at a meeting and declare himself an enemy. . . . 
t has had most beneficial results. . . . He had not 
the slightest doubt that women's votes had had a good 
effect on social legislation. . . . The Federal Parliament 
took a strong stand upon the remuneration of women, 
and the minimum wage which was laid down applied 
equally to women and men for the same work " (Man- 
chester Guardian, June 3, 1911). On another occasion 
Mr. Fisher said that so far from women's suffrage 
causing any disunion between men and women, " the 
interest which men took in women's affairs when women 
had got the vote was wonderful " (Manchester Guardian, 
June 10, 1911). Sir William Lyne, Premier of New 
South Wales, said : " When the women were enfranchised 
in Australia they proceeded at each election to purify 
their Parliament, and they had gone on doing so, and 
now he was proud to say their Parliament was one of 
the model Parliaments of the world " (Manchester 
Guardian, August 1, 1911). The Hon. John Murray of 
Victoria and the Hon. A. A. Kirkpatrick spoke in the 
same sense. Indeed the evidence favourable to the 
working of women's suffrage is overwhelming, and is 


given not only by men who have always supported it, 
but by those who formerly opposed it, and have had 
the courage to acknowledge that as the result of ex- 
perience they have changed their views. Among these 
may be mentioned Sir Edmund Barton, the first Premier 
of the Commonwealth, and the late Sir Thomas Bent, 
the Premier of Victoria, under whose administration 
women were enfranchised in that State. Why appeal 
to other witnesses when both Houses of the Common- 
wealth Parliament in November 1910 unanimously 
adopted the following resolution : 

" (i.) That this! ^ate } is of P inion that the exten ' 
sion of the Suffrage to the women of Australia for States 
and Commonwealth Parliaments, on the same terms as 
men, has had the most beneficial results. It has led 
to the more orderly conduct of Elections, and at the 
last Federal Elections the women's vote in the majority 
of the States showed a greater proportionate increase 
than that cast by men. It has given a greater pro- 
minence to legislation particularly affecting women 
and children, although the women have not taken up 
such questions to the exclusion of others of wider signi- 
ficance. In matters of Defence and Imperial concern, 
they have proved themselves as far-seeing and dis- 
criminating as men. Because the reform has brought 
nothing but good, though disaster was freely prophesied, 
we respectfully urge that all Nations enjoying Repre- 
sentative Government would be well advised in granting 
votes to women." 

With all this wealth of testimony rebutting from 
practical experience almost every objection urged 
against women's suffrage, it is impossible to exaggerate 
the value to the movement here of the example of 
Australia and New Zealand. There are few families 
in the United Kingdom that have not ties of kindred 
or of friendship with Australasia. The men and women 
there are of our own race and traditions, starting from 
the same stock, owning the same allegiance, acknow- 
ledging the same laws, speaking the same language, 


nourished mentally, morally, and spiritually from the 
same sources. We visit them and they visit us ; and 
when their women return to what they fondly term 
" home," although they may have been born and 
brought up under the Southern Cross, they naturally 
ask why they should be put into a lower political status 
in Great Britain than in the land of their birth ? What 
have they done to lose one of the most elementary 
guarantees of liberty and citizenship ? As the ties of 
a sane and healthy imperialism draw us closer together 
the difference in the political status of women in Great 
Britain and her daughter States will become increasingly 
indefensible and cannot be long maintained. 



" We enjoy every species of indulgence we can wish for ; and 
as we are content, we pray that others who are not content 
may meet with no relief." Burke in House of Commons in 
1772 on the Dissenters who petitioned against Dissenters. 

THE first organised opposition by women to women's 
suffrage in England dates from 1889, when a number 
of ladies, led by Mrs. Humphry Ward, Miss Beatrice 
Potter (now Mrs. Sidney Webb), and Mrs. Creighton 
appealed in The Nineteenth Century against the proposed 
extension of the Parliamentary suffrage to women. 
Looking back now'oi|^^|he years that have passed 
since this protest was pIplTshed, the first thing that 
strikes the reader is wjme of the most distinguished 
ladies who then co-o^Mffied with Mrs. Humphry Ward 
have ceased to be anti-suffragists, and have become 
suffragists. Mrs. Creighton and Mrs. Webb have 
joined us ; they are not only " movable," but they 
have moved, and have given their reasons for changing 
their views. Turning from the list of names to the 
line of argument adopted against women's suffrage, 
we find, on the contrary, no change, no development. 


The ladies who signed The. Nineteenth Century protest 
in 1889 were then as now and this is the essential 
characteristic of the anti-suffrage movement com- 
pletely in favour of every improvement in the personal, 
proprietary, and political status of women that had 
already been gained, but against any further extension 
of it. The Nineteenth Century ladies were in 1889 
quite in favour of women taking part in all local govern- 
ment elections, for women's right to do this had been 
won in 1870. The protesting ladies said in so many 
words " we believe the emancipating process has now 
reached the limits fixed by the physical constitution of 
women." Less wise than Canute, they appeared to 
think they could order the tide of human progress to 
stop and that their command would be obeyed. Then, 
as now, they protested that the normal experience of 
women " does not, and never can, provide them with 
such material to form a sound judgment on great 
political affairs as men possess," or, as Mrs. Humphry 
Ward has more recently expressed it, " the political 
ignorance of women is irreparable and is imposed by 
nature " ; then having proclaimed the inherent in- 
capacity of women to form a sound judgment on 
important political affairs, they proceed to formulate 
a judgment on one of the most important issues of 
practical politics. Several of the ladies who signed The 
Nineteenth Century protest in 1889 were at that moment 
taking an active part in organising the political work 
and influence of women for or against the main political 
issue of the day, the granting of Home Rule to Ireland ; 
and yet they were saying at the same time that women 
had not the material to form a sound judgment in 
politics. This is, of course, the inherent absurdity of 
the whole position of anti-suffrage women. If women 
are incapable of forming a sound judgment in grave 
political issues, why invite them and urge them to 
express an opinion at all ? Besides this fundamental 
absurdity there is another, secondary to it, but none the 
less real. Anti -suffragists, especially anti-suffrage men, 
maintain that to take part in the strife and turmoil of 


practical politics is in its essence degrading to women, 
aad calculated to sully their refinement and purity. 
If this, indeed, is so, why invite women into the turmoil ? 
Why advertise, as the anti-suffragists do, the holding of 
classes to train young women to become anti-suffrage 
speakers, and thus be able to proclaim on public plat- 
forms that " woman's place is home ? " This second 
absurdity appears to have occurred to the late editor 
of The Nineteenth Century, Sir James Knowles, for a 
note is added to the 1889 protest apologising, as it 
were, for the inconsistency of asking women to degrade 
themselves by taking part in a public political con- 
troversy : 

"It is submitted," says this note, "that for once and in 
order to save the quiet of Home Life from total disappearance 
they should do violence to their natural reticence and signify 
publicly and unmistakably their condemnation of the scheme 
now threatened." 

If this note was, as it appears, by the editor, how much 
he, too, needed the lesson which Canute gave to his 
courtiers. The waves were not to be turned back by a 
hundred and odd great ladies doing violence to their 
natural reticence and signifying publicly that they 
were very well satisfied with things as they were. 
" Just for once, in order to save the quiet of home 
life from total disappearance," these milk white lambs, 
bleating for man's protection, were to cast aside their 
timidity and come before the public with a protest 
against a further extension of human liberty. The 
anti-suffrage protest of 1889 had the effect which 
similar protests have ever since had of adding to the 
numbers and the activity of the suffragists. 

Women anti -suffragists formed themselves into a 
society in July 1908 under the leadership of Mrs. 
Humphry Ward, and a men's society was shortly 
afterwards formed under the chairmanship of the Earl 
of Cromer. These two societies were amalgamated 
in December 1910. Lord Cromer is the President, 
and exerts himself actively in opposition to women's 


suffrage, and in obtaining funds for the League of which 
lie is the leader. In the previous spring of 1910 the 
Anti-Suffrage League had adopted as part of its pro- 
gramme, besides the negative object of opposing women's 
suffrage, the positive object of encouraging "the 
principle of the representation of women on municipal 
and other bodies concerned with the domestic and social 
affairs of the community." But male an ti -suffragists 
dwell chiefly on the negative part of their programme. 
As a fairly regular reader of the Anti-Suffrage Review 
I may say that the advocacy of municipal suffrage and 
eligibility for women bears about the same proportion 
to the anti-suffrage part of it as Falstaff's bread did 
to his sack ; it is always one halfpennyworth of bread, 
and even that is sometimes absent, to an intolerable 
deal of sack. 

The English anti-suffragists' combination of opposing 
Parliamentary suffrage and supporting municipal 
suffrage for women has no counterpart in the United 
States. American anti-suffragists are as bitterly op- 
posed to municipal and school suffrage for women 
(where it does not exist) as they are to political suffrage. 
In the State of New York, not many years ago, the 
Albany Association for Opposing Woman's Suffrage 
vehemently resisted the appointment of women on 
School Boards and said, " It threatens the home, 
threatens the sacredness of the marriage tie, threatens 
the Church, and undermines the constitution of our 
great Republic." An American senator, not to be out- 
done, improved even upon this, and spoke of school 
suffrage for women in Massachusetts in the following 
terms : * c If we make this experiment we shall destroy 
the race which will be blasted by the vengeance of 
Almighty God." These extravagances do not belong 
entirely to the dark ages of the nineteenth century; 
only in the summer of 1911 the New York Association 
op'posed to the extension of the suffrage to women success- 
fully opposed a Bill to confer the municipal suffrage on 
women in Connecticut. This Bill had passed the 
Senate and was before the House of Representatives, 


which was immediately besieged by petitions against 
the Bill urging all the old arguments with which we are 
so familiar in this country against the Parliamentary 
suffrage, such as that it was not fair to women that 
they should have the municipal vote " thrust upon 
them " ; that Governments rest on force, and force is 
male ; that women cannot fight, and therefore should 
not vote ; that to give the municipal vote to women 
would destroy the home, and undermine the founda- 
tions of society. 1 

This opposition was successful, and the Bill was de- 
feated in face of overwhelming evidence derived from 
the numerous cases which were quoted of women 
exercising the municipal vote, and sitting as members 
of local governing bodies without producing any of 
the disastrous consequences so confidently predicted. 
Where women have the municipal vote there is no oppo- 
sition to it in any quarter, because it is overwhelm- 
ingly evident, as Mr. Gladstone once said, that "it has 
been productive of much good and no harm whatever." 

English suffragists can only heartily rejoice that 
English anti-suffragists are so much more intelligent 
than those of the United States. It shows that they 
are capable of learning from experience. Women have 
had the municipal vote in Great Britain since 1870, 
and they have voted for Poor Law Guardians and 
School Boards (where such still exist) from the same 
date. They were rendered eligible for Town and 
County Councils in 1907 by an Act passed by Sir Henry 
Campbell Bannerman's Government. Suffragists are 
far from complaining that anti -suffragists rejoice with 
them at these extensions of civic liberty to women. 
Though the battle is over and the victory won, it is 
very satisfactory to see the good results of women's 
suffrage, where it exists, recognised and emphasised 
even by anti -suffragists. Mrs. Humphry Ward has 
advocated the systematic organisation of the women's 
vote in London local elections in order to have increased 

1 See letter from Miss Alice Stone Black well in Manchester 
Guardian, July 12, 1911. 


motive power behind some of her excellent schemes 
for making more use of playgrounds for the benefit of 
the London children. She has also spoken several 
times in public in favour of the increased representation 
of women on local government bodies ; and has even 
gone very near to making a joke on the subject, saying, 
in justification of her attitude, " That it was not good to 
allow the devil to have all the best tunes," and not wise 
for the anti-suffragists to allow the suffragists to claim 
a monopoly of ideas and enthusiasm. 1 

Still it is rather significant that she comes to the 
suffrage camp for the ideas and enthusiasms. Her male 
colleagues have not shown themselves very ardent in 
the cause of equal rights for women in local government. 
In 1898, when the London Borough Councils were estab- 
lished in the place of the Vestries, an amendment was 
moved and carried in the House of Commons render- 
ing women eligible for the newly created bodies as they 
had been on the old ones. When the Bill came to the 
House of Lords, this portion of it was vehemently op- 
posed by the late Lord James of Hereford (afterwards 
one of the vice-presidents of the Anti -Suffrage League), 
and his opposition was successful, notwithstanding a 
powerful and eloquent speech by the late Lord Salisbury, 
then Prime Minister, in support of the elegibility of 
women on the new Borough Councils. Again, when 
in 1907 the Bill rendering women eligible for Town and 
County Councils reached the House of Lords, it had no 
more sincere and ardent opponent than Lord James. 
He saw its bearing upon the question of women's 
suffrage, and the absurdity involved in a state of the 
law which allows a woman to be a Town or County 
Councillor, or even a Mayor, and in that capacity the 
returning officer at a Parliamentary election, but does 
not permit her to give a simple vote in the election of a 
member of Parliament. 

" If," said Lord James, " their Lordships accepted this measure 
making women eligible for the great positions that had been 

1 See Anti-Suffrage Review, No. 33, p. 167. 


specified in great communities like Liverpool and Manchester, 
where was tJie man who would be able to argue against the Parlia- 
mentary franchise for women ? " 

The Bill became an Act, notwithstanding Lord James's 
opposition, and within twelve months he had become 
a vice-president of the League for Opposing Women's 
Suffrage and for " Maintaining the Representation of 
Women on Municipal and other Bodies concerned with 
the Domestic and Social Affairs of the Community." 

It has been said by Mrs. Humphry Ward, Miss Violet 
Markham, and other anti-suffragists that it is not very 
creditable to women's public spirit that four years 
after the passing of the Local Government Qualification 
of Women Act of 1907, so few women 1 are serving on 
Town and County Councils. The chief reason for their 
insignificant numbers is that at present only those 
women may be elected who are themselves qualified 
to elect. Outside London this disqualifies married 
women, and in London it only qualifies those married 
women who are on the register as municipal voters. 
It also disqualifies daughters living, under normal 
conditions, in the houses of their parents. The range 
of choice of women candidates is, therefore, very 
severely restricted. Similar disqualifications in former 
years applied to the post of Poor Law Guardian. When 
a simple residential qualification was substituted for 
the electoral qualification the number of women acting 
as Poor Law Guardians increased in a few years from 
about 160 to over 1300, of whom eight out of nine 
have the residential qualification only, nearly half of 
them being married women. It helps people to realise 
how the present law limits the range of choice of women 
to serve on locally elected bodies to ask them to consider 
what would be the effect on the number of men who 
could offer themselves for election if marriage were a 
disqualification for them also. A Bill for allowing women 
to be elected to Town and County Councils on a re- 

1 The exact numbers in England and Wales (autumn 1911) are 
fifteen on Town Councils (two being Mayors) and four on County 


sidential qualification has been before Parliament for 
the four sessions 1908-11. It is "non-contentious," 
but it has never - even got a second reading. Bills 
concerning women lack the motive power behind them 
which is almost invariably necessary for the successful 
passage of a Bill through all its stages. Mrs. Humphry 
Ward and Miss Markham have some justification for 
their contention that the suffrage movement has largely 
absorbed the energies of the more active-minded women, 
and prevented them from offering themselves as candi- 
dates in municipal elections. This is inevitable. Not 
every one possesses the boundless energy of such women 
as Miss Margaret Ashton, Miss Eleanor Rathbone, or 
Mrs. Lees, who combine active suffrage propaganda 
with work of first -class importance as members of 
councils in large and important towns. But when once 
the battle for suffrage is won, and the qualification is 
made reasonable for women, it is almost certain that 
the number of women elected on municipal bodies will 
largely increase. In Norway, where women's suffrage 
has been in operation since 1908, although the popula- 
tion is only a little over 2,000,000, the number of women 
elected on Town and County Councils in 1911 was 210, 
and as many as 379 have been elected in addition as 
" alternates." It appears, therefore, that the second- 
ary object of the Anti-Suffrage League, " the repre- 
sentation of women on municipal bodies," would be 
best served by extending the Parliamentary franchise 
to women. 

The Anti-Suffrage League in England has made a 
great point of the number of petitions and protests 
which they have obtained from women municipal voters 
declaring their antagonism to women's suffrage in 
Parliamentary elections. The suffragists, however, 
attach little or no importance to the figures which have 
been published. When suffragists conduct a canvass 
of the same people on the same subject the result 
is entirely different. 1 Much criticism has been made 

1 As an example I quote the canvass of women municipal electors 
in Reading made respectively by the suffragists in 1909 and anti- 


upon the manner in which the anti-suffragists have 
obtained the signatures to their petitions and protests 
against women's suffrage, and we know that in some 
cases signatures have been asked for "as a protest 
against being governed by these lawless women." Now 
there are almost as many fallacies in this sentence as 
there are words. Many ardent suffragists, probably 
the majority of them, are opposed to the use of physical 
violence as a means of obtaining political justice. 
Moreover, women are not lawless. Women in this 
country, as all criminal statistics prove, are about nine 
times more law-abiding than men. 1 If people object 
to being governed by the more lawless sex, it is not 
women who should be disfranchised. And besides 
these considerations there is another the voter, whether 
male or female, does not govern. He, when he gives 
his vote, has to decide between two or more men 
representing different sets of principles, to which he 
wishes to confide the various tasks of government. 

The Anti-Suffrage Review of January 1911 contained 
an article called " Arguments for use in Poor Districts," 
which throws a flood of light on the methods by which 
these signatures of women against women's suffrage 
have been obtained. The article represents an anti- 
suffrage lady going round with a petition against 
women's suffrage. She approaches the house of a 
working woman and appeals to her whether, after she 

suffragists in 1911. When the suffragists canvassed, the results 
were : 

Did not answer 
In Favour Against and Neutral 

1047 60 467 

When the anti-suffragists canvassed in 1910 the results were : 

Did not answer 
In Favour Against and Neutral 

166 1133 401 

With such disparity as this between the two returns no conclusion 
can possibly be drawn from either without further investigation 
of the methods pursued. 

1 See Statistical Abstract from the United Kingdom. 


has looked after her children and her home, she has not 
done all that a woman has time for, and " had better 
leave such things as the Government of India and the 
Army and Navy, and all those outside things to the 
men who understand them." A more extraordinarily 
dishonest argument, if argument it can be called, can 
hardly be imagined. If it were sound, it would ex- 
clude from all share in political power not only working 
women, but also working men all who live by the sweat 
of their brow, and all hard working professional and 
business men. If the argument were a sound one, the 
best Government would be a bureaucracy like that of 
Russia, where the great tasks of government and the 
management of the Army and Navy " are left to the 
men who understand them," and where the peasant, 
the artisan, the professional man, and the merchant 
have nothing to do with laws but to obey them, and 
nothing to do with taxes but to pay them. But this 
system has never commended itself to the political 
instincts of the British nation. Some of the anti- 
suffragists at any rate could see this plainly enough 
when this " argument " was applied to the continued 
exclusion of working men from the franchise. Mr. 
Frederic Harrison has written words on this very 
subject which are as applicable to women to-day as 
they were to men at the time when they were first 
published : 

" Electors have not got to govern a country ; they have only to 
find a set of men who will see that the Government is fresh and 
active. . . . Government is one thing, but electors of any class 
cannot and ought not to govern. Electing, or giving an indirect 
approval of Government, is another thing, and demands wholly 
different qualities. These are moral, not intellectual, practical, 
not special gifts gifts of a very plain and almost universal 
order. Such are, firstly, social sympathies and sense of justice, 
then openness and plainness of character ; lastly, habits of action 
and a practical knowledge of social misery." * 

1 Quoted in Lord Morley's Studies in Literature, pp. 133, 134. 
The reference there given for the extract is Order and Progress, by 
Frederic Harrison, pp. 149-154. 

it the 


These are the lessons of their own leaders ; but 
anti-suffragists pay no heed to them ; it is little wonder 
then that they pay no heed to the great suffrage leader 
who has taught us that women, like men, do not need 
the franchise in order that they may govern, but in 
order that they may not be misgoverned. 

One other consideration may be deduced from this 
extraordinary article " Arguments for use in Poor 
Districts." If the an ti -suffragists will put into cold 
print such " arguments " that women ought not to 
vote because they are occupied with the daily tasks of 
ordinary life and are not prepared to govern India or 
manage the Army and Navy, what may not the anti- 
suffragists say in private in the cottages which they 
visit in order to overcome the reluctance of working 
women to put their names to the anti-suffrage petitions ? 

The women who petition against women's enfranchise- 
ment are a type that we have always with us. Burke 
held them up to disdain and contempt in inimitable 
words in 1772, when Dissenters petitioned against 
Dissenters. The Five Mile Act and the Test and Cor- 
poration Act were then in force. The Test Act made 
the taking of the Sacrament according to the rites of 
the Church of England a necessary qualification for 
holding public office of any kind. The Five Mile Act 
forbade the proscribed Nonconformists from preaching 
or holding meetings within five miles of any corporate 
town. In 1772 these Acts were not often put into 
operation, but as long as they were in the Statute Book 
the Nonconformist leaders felt that they were doomed 
to live on sufferance ; their friends in Parliament 
prepared a Bill for their relief from these outrageous 
disabilities. Opposition was, of course, at once 
awakened ; it proceeded mainly from the King and the 
" King's friends." Their hands were strengthened by 
receiving a petition signed by dissenting ministers, who 
entreated Parliament not to surrender a test " imposed 
expressly for the maintenance of those essential doctrines 
upon which the Reformation was founded." They were 
for the time successful, but Burke's oratory has pointed 


the finger of scorn at them for all time. " Two 
bodies of men," he said, " approach our House and 
prostrate themselves at our Bar. ' We ask not honours,' 
say the one. 'We have no aspiring wishes, no views 
upon the purple. . . .' 'We, on the contrary,' say 
the Dissenters who petition against Dissenters, 'enjoy 
every species of indulgence we can wish for ; and as 
we are content, we pray that others who are not con- 
tent may meet with no relief.' " x 

We do not envy the Dissenters who petitioned against 
Dissenters in the eighteenth century, and future genera- 
tions will probably mete out no very kindly judgment 
to the women who petitioned against women in 1889 
and 1911 : " As we are content, we pray that others 
who are not content may meet with no relief." 

One most effective reply has been made by the 
suffragists to the allegation of their opponents that 
women do not desire their own enfranchisement. 
Between the autumns of 1910 and 1911 more than 
130 local councils petitioned Parliament in favour of 
passing without delay the Women's Suffrage Bill, 
known as the Conciliation Bill. These councils com- 
prise those of the most important towns in the kingdom, 
including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Inverness, 
Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Liverpool, Manchester, 
Birmingham, Sheffield, Bradford, Oldham, Leeds, 
Wolverhampton, Newcastle, and Brighton. No such 
series of petitions from locally elected bodies has pro- 
bably ever been presented to Parliament in favour of 
a Franchise Bill. The anti -suffragists have endeavoured 
to belittle the significance of these petitions. In an 
important official letter to Mr. Asquith, signed by Lord 
Cromer, Lady Jersey, Mrs. Humphry Ward, Lord 
Curzon, and others, it is stated : 

"The councils which have allowed these resolutions to go 
through are, in no small degree, dependent for votes upon tne 

1 Early History of Charles James Fox, by the Rt. Hon. Sir G. O. 
Trevelyan, p. 441). 


very women whom the Bill proposes to enfranchise, and it is 
most natural that the councillors should shrink from the risk of 
offending them" 

This is a good specimen of anti-suffrage logic. Women 
householders are strongly opposed to their own en- 
franchisement ; but Town Councillors who depend upon 
the votes of these women are forced to petition in favour 
of their enfranchisement because these councillors " shrink 
from the risk of offending them." 

It is true that Lord Cromer, Lord Curzon, and the 
other signatories of the letter go on to say that they 
are much better acquainted with the feeling of the 
women municipal voters in the various towns than 
the men are who have lived in them all their lives, 
and have repeatedly stood in them as candidates in 
municipal elections. This illustrates the degree of 
knowledge possessed by the most distinguished of the 
anti-suffragists of the work-a-day world in which 
humbler mortals have to live. 

Mr. Gladstone said of the House of Lords when they 
opposed the Reform Bill of 1884 that they " lived in a 
balloon," unconscious of what was happening among 
the dim common populations living on the earth. The 
same criticism is applicable to the anti -suffragists. 
They opened the year 1911 in their Review by saying 
that they looked " forward with complete confidence 
to the work of saving women from the immeasurable 
injury of having their sex brought into the conflict of 
political life." This was immediately after the election 
of December 1910, during which Mrs. Humphry Ward 
had taken an active personal share in her son's electoral 
contest in West Hertfordshire ; and during which a 
large number of Unionist candidates and others had 
had the offer from her publishers of her Letters to my 
Friends and Neighbours, written anew for the second 
election of 1910, price 3d. each or 1000 copies for 5. 
No suffragist blames Mrs. Humphry Ward for her 
active interest in politics. Whether people like it or 
not, women are taking part in active political work ; 
1 Anti-Suffrage Review, December 1910. 


but to talk of " the immeasurable injury of bringing their 
sex into the conflict of political life," and at the same 
time to profit by the political knowledge and en- 
thusiasm of women is a practical absurdity. All 
parties are alike in getting as much work as possible 
during an election out of the women who sympathise 
with them. 

To encourage the political activity of women and 
at the same time talk about " protecting women from 
the immeasurable injury of having their sex brought 
into the conflict of political life," helps one to understand 
why Frenchmen say that the English are a nation of 

Some eminent anti-suffragists attacked the Insur- 
ance Bill (1911) on the ground that it is " cruelly un- 
fair " to women ; others, including some of their most 
distinguished women, but no men, sent to the Prime 
Minister in July a carefully worded and powerfully 
reasoned letter explaining in detail the points in which 
they felt that the Bill did less than justice to women. 
Space does not permit a detailed examination of the 
points raised in this excellent letter, but one sentence 
in it must be given, for it contains within itself the gist 
of the case for women's sufirage : 

" We would strongly urge that instead of meeting these and 
similar cases by amending the Bill in the way which was 
promised by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on July 10th, 
it would be preferable to substitute the insurance which is needed for 
that which is not needed." 

The unrepresented are always liable to be given what 
they do not need rather than what they do need. This, 
in one sentence, forms the strength of the case for 
women's suffrage. However benevolent men may be 
in their intentions, they cannot know what women want 
and what suits the necessities of women's lives as well 
as women know these things themselves. 




" It is a calumny on men to say that they are roused to heroic 
action by ease, hope of pleasure sugar plums of any kind. 
In the meanest mortal there lies something nobler. Diffi- 
culty, abnegation, martyrdom, death, are the allurements 
which act upon the heart of man." THOMAS CARLYLE. 

IN Chapters II. and III. an outline was given of the 
Parliamentary history of women's suffrage between 
1867 and 1897. In those thirty years the movement 
had progressed until it had reached a point when it 
could count upon a majority of suffragists being re- 
turned in each successively elected House of Commons. 
In 1899 came the South African War, and the main 
interest of the nation was concentrated on that struggle 
till it was over. A war almost invariably suspends all 
progress in domestic and social legislation. Two fires 
cannot burn together, and the most ardent of the 
suffragists felt that, while the war lasted, it was not a 
fitting time to press their own claims and objects. 
The war temporarily suspended the progress of the 
suffrage movement, but it is probable that it ultimately 
strengthened the demand of women for citizenship, for 
it has been observed again and again that a war, or 
any other event which stimulates national vitality, 
and the consciousness of the value of citizenship is 
almost certain to be followed by increased vigour in 
the suffrage movement, and not infrequently by its 
success. For instance, suffrage in Finland in 1907 
followed immediately upon the great struggle with 
Russia to regain constitutional Uberty ; women as 
well as men had thrown themselves into that struggle 
and borne the great sacrifices it entailed, and when 
Finland wrung from the Czar the granting of the 
Constitution, women's suffrage formed an essential 
part of it, and was demanded by the almost unanimous 


voice of the Finnish people. Again, when suffrage was 
granted to women in Norway in 1907, it was immediately 
after the great outburst of national feeling which led 
to the separation from Sweden, and established Norway 
as an independent kingdom. Upon the rights and 
wrongs of the controversy between the two countries it 
is not for us to enter, but the intensity of the feeling in 
Norway in favour of separation is undoubted. The women 
had shared in the national fervour and in all the work 
and sacrifices it entailed. The Parliamentary Suffrage 
was granted to women as one of the first Acts of the 
Norwegian Parliament. 

In the Commonwealth of Australia almost the first 
Act of the first Parliament was the enfranchisement of 
women. The national feeling of Australia had been 
stimulated and the sense of national responsibility 
deepened by the events which led to the Federation of 
the Independent States of the Australian Continent. 
It is true that South Australia and Western Australia 
had led the way about women's suffrage before this in 
1893 and 1899, but up to the time of the formation of 
the Commonwealth there had been no such rapid ex- 
tension of the suffrage to women as that which accom- 
panied or immediately followed it. 1 

The fight for suffrage in the United Kingdom is not 
won yet, but it has made enormous progress towards 
victory, and this, in my opinion, is in part due to the 
quickened sense of national responsibility, the deeper 
sense of the value of citizenship which was created by 
the South African War. The war in the first instance 
originated from the "refusal of the vote to Englishmen 
and other " Uitlanders " long settled in the Transvaal. 
The newspapers, therefore, both in this country and in 
South Africa constantly dwelt on the value and signi- 
ficance of the vote. The Spectator once put the point 
with great brevity and force when it wrote, " We dwell 
so strongly on the franchise because it includes all other 
rights, and is the one essential thing." Now this is 
either true or untrue ; if true it applies to women as 
1 See p. 89. 


well as to " Uitlanders." After thinking of the war 

its causes the first thing in the morning and the last 

thing at night for nearly three years, there were many 

. thousands of Englishwomen who asked themselves 

why, if the vote to Englishmen in the Transvaal was 

I worth 200,000,000 of money and some 30,000 lives, 

j it was not also of great value and significance to women 

* at home. Why, they said to themselves and to others, 

are we to be treated as perpetual " Uitlanders " in the 

country of our birth, which we love as well as any 

other of its citizens ? 

Therefore in the long run the war, though it tem- 
porarily caused a suspension of the suffrage agitation, 
nourished it at its source, and very shortly after the 
declaration of peace it became more active than it had 
ever been before. Ever since 1897, when Mr. Faithfull 
Begg's Women's Suffrage Bill had been read a second 
time by 228 to 157, the enemies of suffrage in the House 
of Commons had managed to evade a vote on a direct 
issue. The days obtained for Suffrage Bills were ab- 
sorbed by the Government or merged into the holidays. 
One or other of the hundred ways of burking discussion 
open to the experienced Parliamentarian was used. 
Nevertheless women's suffrage resolutions were brought 
forward in 1904 and 1905 ; that of 1905 was " talked 

At the end of 1905 the general public first became 
aware of a new element in the suffrage movement. 
The Women's Social and Political Union had been 
formed by Mrs. and Miss Pankhurst in 1903, but the 
" militant movement," with which its name will always 
be associated, had not attracted any public notice till 
the end of 1905. Its manifestations and multifarious 
activities have been set forth in detail by Miss Sylvia 
Pankhurst in a book, and are also so well known from 
other sources that it is unnecessary to dwell upon 
them here. 1 It is enough to say that by adopting 
novel and startling methods not at the outset associated 

1 See The Suffragette, by Miss E. Sylvia Pankhurst (Gay and 
Hancock, 1911). 


with physical violence or attempts at violence, they 
succeeded in drawing a far larger amount of public 
attention to the claims of women to representation 
than ever had been given to the subject before. These 
methods were regarded by many suffragists with strong 
aversion, while others watched them with sympathy 
and admiration for the courage and self-sacrifice which 
these new methods involved. It is notorious that 
differences of method separate people from one another 
even more acutely than differences of aim. This has 
been seen in the history of religion as well as in politics : 

" Christians have burnt each other, quite persuaded 
That the apostles would have done as they did." 

It was a most anxious time for many months when 
there seemed a danger that the suffrage cause might 
degenerate into futile quarrelling among suffragists 
about the respective merits of their different methods, 
rather than develop into a larger, broader, and more 
widespread movement. This danger has been happily 
averted, partly by the good sense of the suffragists 
of all parties, who held firmly to the sheet anchor of 
the fact that they were all working for precisely the 
same thing, the removal of the sex disability in Parlia- 
mentary elections, and, therefore, that what united 
them was more important than that which separated 
them. The formation of the anti-suffrage societies 
was also from this point of view most opportune, giving 
us all an immediate objective. It was obvious to all 
suffragists that they should turn their artillery on 
their opponents rather than on each other. Therefore, 
while recognising fully all the acute differences which 
must exist between the advocates of revolutionary 
and constitutional methods, each group went on its 
own way ; and the total result has undoubtedly been 
an extraordinary growth in the vigour and force of the 
suffrage movement all over the country. The most 
satisfactory feature of the situation was that however 
acute were the differences between the heads of the 
different societies, the general mass of suffragists 


throughout the country were loyal to the cause by 
whomsoever it was represented, just as Italian patriots 
in the great days of the Risorgimento supported the 
unity of Italy, whether promoted by Cavour, Garibaldi, 
or Mazzini. 1 

The National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies 
endeavoured to steer an even keel. They never 
weakened in their conviction that constitutional agita- 
tion was not only right in itself, but would prove far 
more effective in the long run than any display of 
physical violence, as a means of converting the electorate, 
the general public, and, consequently, Parliament and 
the Government, to a belief in women's suffrage. But 
the difficulties for a long time were very great. A few 
of our own members attacked us because we were not 
militant ; others resigned because they disapproved of 
the militantism which we had repudiated. On one 
such occasion a high dignitary of the Church of England, 
who is also a distinguished historian, wrote to resign 
his position as vice-president of one of our societies 
because he highly disapproved of the recent action of 
the members of militant societies. The honorary 
secretary replied, asking him if he was also relinquishing 
his connection with Christianity, as she gathered from 
his writings that he strongly disapproved of what some 
Christians had done in the supposed interests of 
Christianity. It is to the credit of both that the 
threatened resignation was withdrawn. We tried to 
comfort and help the weak-hearted by reminding them, 
in the words of Viscount Morley, that " No reformer is 
fit for his task if he suffers himself to be frightened by 
the excesses of an extreme wing." 2 

Personally it was to myself the most difficult time 
of my forty years of suffrage work. I was helped 
a good deal by recalling a saying of my husband's 
about the Irish situation in the 'eighties, when he was 
heard saying to himself, " Just keep on and do what 

1 See Garibaldi and the Making of Italy, by G. M. Trevelyan, 
p. 3. 

2 Morley's Life of Gladstone, vol. iii. p. 371. 


is right." I am far from claiming that we actually 
accomplished the difficult feat of doing what was right, - 
but I believe we tried to. But the brutal severity with 
which some of the militant suffragists were treated 
gave suffragists of all parties another subject on which 
they were in agreement. 

Minor breaches of the law, such as waving flags and 
making speeches in the lobbies of the Houses of Parlia- 
ment, were treated more severely than serious crime 
on the part of men has often been. A sentence of three 
months' imprisonment as an ordinary offender was 
passed in one case against a young girl who had done 
nothing except to decline to be bound over to keep the 
peace which she was prepared to swear she had not 
broken. The turning of the hose upon a suffrage 
prisoner in her cell in a midwinter night, and all the 
anguish of the hunger strike and forcible feeding are 
other examples. All through 1908 and 1909 a dead set 
was made upon law-breakers, real or supposed, who 
were obscure and unknown ; while people with well- 
known names and of good social position were treated 
with leniency, and in some cases were allowed to do 
almost anything without arrest or punishment. 1 

The militant societies split into two in 1907, when 
the Freedom League was formed under the Presidency 
of Mrs. Despard. Shortly after this both the militant 
groups abandoned the plan upon which for the first 
few years they had worked that of suffering violence, 
but using none. Stone-throwing of a not very formid- 
able kind was indulged in, and personal attacks upon 
Ministers of the Grown were attempted. 2 These new 
developments necessitated, in the opinion of the National 
Union of Women's Suffrage Societies, the publication 
of protests expressing their grave and strong objection 

1 I have in my possession positive proof that orders were given 
to the police not to arrest a particular lady whose name is well 
known and highly respected in every part of the country. 

2 I am requested by the Women's Freedom League to state 
that they have never resorted to stone -throwing or to personal 


to the use of personal violence as a means of political 
propaganda. These protests were published in 
November 1908 and October 1909. The second, and 
shortest, was as follows : 

" That the Council of the National Union of Women's Suffrage 
Societies strongly condemns the use of violence in political 
propaganda, and being convinced that the true way of advocating 
the cause of Women's Suffrage is by energetic, law-abiding 
propaganda, reaffirms its adherence to constitutional principles, 
aud instructs the Executive Committee and the Societies to 
communicate this resolution to the Press." 

To this was added : 

" That while condemning methods of violence the Council of 
the N.U.W.S.S. also protests most earnestly against the manner 
in which the whole Suffrage agitation has been handled by the 
responsible Government." 

The National Union has not thought it necessary 
publicly to protest against every individual act of 
violence. Having definitely and in a full Council, 
where all the societies in the Union are represented in 
proportion to their membership, put upon record that 
they " strongly condemn the use of violence in political 
propaganda," it appears unnecessary to asseverate that 
they condemn individual acts of violence. There is a 
remarkable passage in one of Cromwell's letters ex- 
plaining why that which is gained by force is of little 
value in comparison with that which is conceded to 
the claims of justice and reason. " Things obtained 
by force," he wrote, " though never so good in them- 
selves, would be both less to their honour and less likely 
to last than concessions made to argument and reason." 
" What we gain in a free way is better than twice 
as much in a forced, and will be more truly ours and 
our posterity's." 2 The practical example of male re- 
volutionists is often cited to the contrary ; but with 
all due respect to the other sex, is not their example 
too often an example of how not to do it ? The Russian 

1 A third protest was published in December 1911. 

2 Morley's Life of Oliver Cromuxtt, pp. 232-3. 


revolution, for instance, seems to have thrown the 
political development of Russia into a vicious circle : 
" we murder you because you and your like have 
murdered us," and thus it goes on in an endless vista 
like one mirror reflecting another. I admit fully that 
the kind and degree of violence carried out by the 
so-called " suffragettes " is of the mildest description ; 
a few panes of glass have been broken, and meetings 
have been disturbed, but no one has suffered in life or 
limb ; our great movement towards freedom has not 
been stained by serious crime. Compared with the 
Irish Nationalist movement in the 'eighties, or the 
recent unrest in India, the so-called " violence " of the 
suffragettes is absolutely negligible in degree, except as 
an indication of their frame of mind. 

Far more violence has been suffered by the suffragettes 
than they have caused their opponents to suffer. The 
violence of the stewards at Liberal meetings in throwing 
out either men or women who dared to ask questions 
about women's suffrage has been most discreditable. 
It may be hoped it has been checked by an action 
claiming damages brought on at the Leeds Assizes in 
March 1911 on behalf of a man who had had his leg 
broken by the violence with which he had been thrown 
out of a meeting at Bradford by Liberal stewards, 
in the previous November. The judge ruled that his 
ejection from the meeting was in itself unlawful, and 
the only question he left to the jury was to assess 
damages. The jury awarded the plaintiff 100 ; this 
decision was appealed against, but the appeal was 
withdrawn in October 191 1. 1 

Mark Twain once wrote of the women suffragists in 
his own country, " For forty years they have swept 
an imposingly large number of unfair laws from the 
statute books of America. In this brief time these 
serfs have set themselves free essentially. Men could 
not have done as much for themselves in that time without 

1 See Summing up of Mr. Justice Avory in Hawkins v. Muff case. 
A Warning to Liberal Stewards, published by the Men's Political 
Union, 1911. 


bloodshed, at least they never have, and that is an 
argument that they didn't know how." 1 

Perhaps the mild degree of violence perpetrated by 
the suffragettes was intended to lower our sex pride ; 
we were going to show the world how to gain reforms 
without violence, without killing people and blowing 
up buildings, and doing the other silly things that men 
have done w r hen they wanted the laws altered. Lord 
Acton once wrote : " It seems to be a law of political 
evolution that no great advance in human freedom can 
be gained except after the display of some kind of 
violence." We wanted to show that we could make 
the grand advance in human freedom, at which we 
aimed without the display of any kind of violence. We 
have been disappointed in that ambition, but we may 
still lay the flattering unction to our souls that the 
violence offered has not been formidable, and that the 
fiercest of the suffragettes have been far more ready to 
suffer pain than to inflict it. What those endured who 
underwent the hunger strike and the anguish of forcible 
feeding can hardly be overestimated. Their courage 
made a very deep impression on the public and touched 
the imagination of the whole country. 

Of course a very different measure is applied to men 
and women in these matters. Women are expected to 
be able to bear every kind of injustice without even 
" a choleric word " ; if men riot when they do not 
get what they want they are leniently judged, and 
excesses of which they may be guilty are excused in 
the House of Commons, in the press, and on the bench 
on the plea of political excitement. Compare the line 
of the press on the strike riots in Wales and elsewhere 
with the tone of the same papers on the comparatively 
infinitesimal degree of violence shown by the militant 
suffragists. No one has been more severe in his con- 
demnation of militantism than Mr. Churchill, but 
speaking in the House of Commons in August 8, 1911, 
about the violent riots in connection with Parliamentary 
Reform in 1832, he is reported to have said : " It is true 

1 More Tramps Abroad, by Mark Twain, p. 208. 


there was rioting in 1832, but the people had no votes 
then, and had very little choice as to the alternatives they 
should adopt." If this is a good argument, why not 
extend its application to the militant suffragists ? 

The use of physical violence by the militant societies 
was not the only difference between them and the 
National Union. The two groups between 1905 and 
1911 adopted different election policies. The militants 
believed, and they had much ground for their belief, 
that the only chance of a Women's Suffrage Bill being 
carried into law lay in its adoption by one or other of 
the great political parties as a party question. The 
private member, they urged, had no longer a chance 
of passing an important measure ; it must be backed 
by a Government. Hence they concluded that the 
individual member of Parliament was of no particular 
consequence, and they concentrated their efforts at 
each electoral contest in endeavouring to coerce the 
Government of the day to take up the suffrage cause. 
Their cry in every election was " Keep the Liberal out," 
not, as they asserted, from party motives, but because 
the Government of the day, and the Government alone, 
had the power to pass a Suffrage Bill ; and as long as 
any Government declined to take up suffrage they would 
have to encounter all the opposition which the militants , 
could command. In carrying out this policy they 
opposed the strongest supporters of women's suffrage j 
if they were also supporters of the Government. 

The National Union adopted a different election 
policy that of obtaining declarations of opinion from 
all candidiates at each election and supporting the man, 
independent of party, who gave the most satisfactory 
assurances of support. In the view of the National 
Union this policy was infinitely more adapted to the 
facts of the situation than that adopted by the militants. 
What was desired was that the electorate should be 
educated in the principles of women's suffrage, and 
made to understand what women wanted, and why 
they wanted it ; and electors were much more likely to 
approach the subject in a reasonable frame of mind 


if they had not been thrown into a violent rage by what 
they considered an unfair attack upon their own party. 
To this it was replied that only the Liberals were enraged 
and that the Conservatives would be correspondingly 
conciliated. It did not appear, however, that this was 
actually the case. The Conservatives were not slow to 
see that their immunity from attack was only temporary ; 
when their turn came to have a Government in power 
the cry would be changed to " Keep the Conservative 
out." And then having profoundly irritated one half 
of the electorate, the militants would go on to irritate 
the other half. What the National Union aimed at was 
the creation in each constituency of a Women's Suffrage 
society on non-party lines, which should by meetings, 
articles, and educational propaganda of all kinds create 
so strong a feeling in favour of women's suffrage as to 
make party managers on both sides realise, in choosing 
candidates, that they would have a better chance of 
success with a man who was a suffragist than with a 
man who was an anti-suffragist. 

The whole Parliamentary situation was altered when 
in November 1910, and again more explicitly in June and 
August 1911, Mr. Asquith promised on behalf of the 
Government that on certain conditions they would 
grant time for all the stages of a Women's Suffrage Bill 
during this Parliament. This removed the basis on 
which the militant societies had founded their election 
policy ; it no longer was an impossibility for a private 
member to carry a Reform Bill, and it became obvious 
that the road to success lay in endeavouring, as far as 
possible, to promote the return of men of all parties to 
the House of Commons who were genuine suffragists. 
The Women's Social and Political Union and the Free- 
dom League appreciated the importance of this change, 
and early in 1911 they definitely suspended militant 
action, and abandoned their original election policy. 
There was thus harmony in methods as well as unity 
of aims between the Suffrage Societies until this har- 
mony was disturbed by the events to be described in 
the next chapter. 




* If a great change is to be made in human affairs, the minds of 
men will be fitted to it ; the general opinions and feelings 
will draw that way. Every fear^ every hope will forward it, 
and then they who persist in opposing this mighty current in 
human affairs, will appear rather to resist the decrees of 
Providence itself, than the mere designs of men. They will 
not be resolute and firm, but perverse and obstinate." 
BURKE (Thoughts on French Affairs). 

THE Parliament elected in January 1906 contained an 
overwhelming Liberal majority;" it also contained 
more than 4XX3 members, belonging to all parties, who 
were pledged to the principle of women's suffrage. A 
considerable number of these had expressed their ad- 
herence to the movement in their election addresses. 

Mr. (now Viscount) Haldane had said at Reading, 
just before the election, that he considered women's 
suffrage not only desirable, but necessary, if Parliament 
would grapple successfully with the difficult problems 
of social reform. Mr. Lloyd George stigmatised the 
exclusion of women from the right of voting as "an act 
of intolerable injustice." Sir Henry Campbell Banner- 
man, the Prime Minister, who received a deputation 
containing representatives of all the suffrage societies 
in May 1906, said that they "had made out a con- 
clusive and irrefutable case." Still no promise of 
Government help for the passing of a Suffrage Bill 
was forthcoming ; the difference of opinion in both 
parties on the subject of women's suffrage cut across 
all party ties, and thus hindered Government action. 
It was obvious that no private member, in the changed 
conditions of modern politics, could pass so important 
a Bill without Government help ; and no promise of 
this help could be obtained. The first debate on a 
Women's Suffrage Bill in the new Parliament took 


place in 1907, when the speaker refused to grant the 
closure and the Bill was talked out. Mr. Stanger, 
K.C., M.P., drew a good place in the ballot in 1908, and 
his Bill for the simple removal of the sex disability 
from existing franchises came on for second reading in 
February. The closure having been granted, the 
division resulted in the great majority for the Bill of 
273 to 94. But no further progress was made. 

In May of the same year a deputation of Liberal M.P.'s 
waited on Mr. Asquith, who had then become Prime 
Minister, to press him for aid for passing into law a 
Women's Suffrage Bill. He admitted that about two- 
thirds of his Cabinet and a majority of his party were 
favourable to women's suffrage, and while maintaining 
his own continued opposition to it, made a statement 
that his Government intended to introduce a measure 
of electoral reform, and that if an amendment for the 
admission of women were proposed on democratic 
lines, his Government as a Government would not 
oppose it. This was a great advance on the position 
occupied by Mr. Gladstone in 1884, when he vehemently 
opposed a women's suffrage amendment to the Reform 
Bill of that year. All the organs of public opinion 
without exception recognised that this promise ad- 
vanced the movement for women's suffrage to a higher 
place in practical politics than it had ever before 
occupied. The next year, 1909, Mr. Geoffrey Howard, 
M.P., and other Liberal members abandoned the non- 
party Women's Suffrage Bill which had hitherto always 
been introduced, and brought forward a Bill for what 
was practically universal adult suffrage ; this course 
alienated all Conservative and much moderate Liberal 
support, and was taken in the face of the strongly ex- 
pressed protests of all the suffrage societies. The 
division on the second reading showed a majority of 
only 35 or less than one-fifth of the majority for the more 
moderate Bill. The supporters fell in numbers from 
273 to 159, and the opposition increased from 94 to 124, 
and this in a House of Commons with the immense 
combined Liberal, Labour, and Nationalist majority of 


513 to 157. In the House of Commons elected suc- 
cessively in January and December 1910 the same com- 
bination of parties had a majority of about 125, as 
compared with a majority of 356 in the Parliament of 
1906. These figures are most eloquent of the real 
political situation, and explain why genuine suffragists 
who want w r omen's names on the register before the 
next election, supported, in the absence of Government 
aid, a measure on moderate lines calculated to unite the 
greatest amount of support from all parts of the House, 
rather than a Bill drafted on extreme party lines, which 
would certainly alienate Conservative and moderate 
Liberal support. If an Adult Suffrage Bill could only 
obtain a majority of 35 when the Government majority 
was 356, it is easy to predict where it would be when 
the Government majority was reduced to 125. 

In December 1909 the Government announced an 
immediate dissolution of Parliament. For the first 
time in the history of the women's suffrage movement 
the political campaign preceding a general election 
was opened with important declarations from the 
Prime Minister and other members of his Government 
on the subject of the enfranchisement of women. 

At the great meeting of his party at the Albert Hall, 
December 10, 1909, after indicating his own continued 
opposition to women's suffrage, Mr. Asquith said : 
" Nearly two years ago I declared on behalf of the 
present Government that in the event, which we then 
contemplated, of our bringing in a Reform Bill, we 
should make the insertion of a suffrage amendment 
an open question for the House of Commons to decide 
(cheers) . Our friends and fellow- workers of the Women's 
Liberal Federation (cheers) have asked me to say that 
my declaration survives the expiring Parliament, and 
will hold good in its successor, and that their cause, so 
far as the Government is concerned, shall be no worse 
off in the new Parliament than it would have been in 
the old. I have no hesitation in acceding to that 
request (cheers). The Government . . . has no dis- 
position or desire to burke this question ; it is clearly 


an issue on which the new House of Commons ought to 
be given an opportunity to express its views/' 

On the same day Sir Edward Grey, at Alnwick, 
reiterated his continued support of women's suffrage. 
In reply to a question, he said : " If that means, am I 
in favour of a reasonable Bill for giving votes to women, 
I have always supported that Biff, and I don't think it 
right to change my opinions because wiiat I believe to 
be a small minority among women has been very violent 
and unreasonable." Mr. Winston Churchill, a few days 
earlier, expressed a similar opinion to that of Sir Edward 

The anti -suffragists are never weary of asserting that 
women's suffrage has never been before the country 
as a practical political issue. It is difficult to imagine 
what being " before the country " consists in, if the 
foregoing declarations on the part of the leaders of the 
party in power do not indicate that a question has 
reached this stage. At the general election of January 
1910, 245 candidates mentioned in their election ad- 
dresses that they supported the extension of the 
Parliamentary franchise to women. 1 In this election 
the National Union organised a voters' petition in 
support of women's suffrage. The signatures, amount- 
ing to over 280,000, were nearly all collected on polling 
day from electors who had just recorded their own 
vote. In some constituencies, especially in the North 
of England, hardly a man refused his signature ; the 
polling number was in each case attached to the signature 
as a means of identification, and as a guarantee of good 
faith. No objection has ever been made to our petitions, 
or signatures disallowed, as in the case of some of the 
anti-suffrage petitions, on the ground that there were 
pages of signatures all in the same handwriting. 

An extremely important event in the development of 
the suffrage movement in the field of practical politics 
took place almost simultaneously with the January 1910 
election. This was the formation of the Conciliation 

1 See the Annual Report of the National Union of Women's 
Suffrage Societies presented in March 1910. 


Committee. It was recognised on all hands that 
women's suffrage was in an unprecedented Parliamentary 
position ; a large majority of members of Parliament 
were pledged to it, but it was not backed by either of 
the great parties, and consequently lacked the driving 
power to get through the stages necessary to convert a 
Bill into an Act of Parliament. This was in part due 
to differences as to the sort of women's suffrage which 
members of Parliament were prepared to accept. The 
Liberals objected to a Bill in the old lines based on 
the removal of the sex disability, dreading that such a 
measure would be used as a means of multiplying plural 
voting, and would thus probably tell heavily against 
the Liberal party. Conservatives and moderate 
Liberals objected to the immense addition to the 
electorate which would be caused by adult suffrage. 
The Conciliation Committee was formed with the view 
of reconciling these differences, by finding a Bill which 
all suffragists could support. With the exception of 
the chairman, the Earl of Lytton, and the Hon. Secretary, 
Mr. H. N. Brailsford, it consisted entirely of members 
of the House of Commons favourable to women's 
suffrage, and representing the parties Liberal, Con- 
servative, Labour, and Nationalist into which the 
House is divided. As the result of the work of this 
committee a Bill was arrived at, to which all the parties 
represented on the committee could agree. 

The Bill was drafted on the lines of simple Household 
Suffrage with a clause expressly laying down that 
marriage was not to be a disqualification. It has never 
been contended that this is a perfect Bill ; it was the 
result of a compromise between the different parties 
in the House of Commons. The Conservatives and 
moderate Liberals objected to adult suffrage ; the 
Liberals and their allies objected to the old suffrages 
being simply opened to women for the reasons just 
indicated ; therefore, in deference to Liberal objections, 
the freeholders, occupiers, service, university, lodger, 
and other franchises were abandoned in the case of 
women, and in deference to Conservative objections 


adult suffrage was not proposed. The Bill which was 
agreed upon was based upon the democratic principle 
of Household Suffrage, of which the country had had 
more than forty years' experience as far as women were 
concerned in municipal elections. The principle of 
the Conciliation Bill is to make Household Suffrage a 
reality. Mrs. Humphry Ward condemns this measure 
as " absurd." l Wherein its absurdity consists she 
does not explain. Household Suffrage was the main 
sheet anchor of all the great Reform Bills of the last 
century ; it is the basis of most of the local franchises. 
It is by far the most important, numerically, of all the 
various existing franchises. An interesting return is 
published every year of the total number of Parlia- 
mentary voters, indicating the qualifications under 
which they vote. That dated February 28, 1911, 
shows that in the whole United Kingdom there were 
7,705,602 registered electors; of these 6,716,742 voted 
as occupiers and householders, while less than 1,000,000 
represented the total of all the other franchises 
put together. The Bill, therefore, which gives women 
Household Suffrage admits them to by far the most 
important suffrage which men enjoy. Personally many 
suffragists would prefer a less restricted measure, but 
the immense importance and gain to our movement in 
getting the most effective of all the existing franchises 
thrown open to women cannot be exaggerated. This 
was immediately appreciated by all the suffrage 
societies and also by the Women's Liberal Federation, 
all of which gave hearty and enthusiastic support to 
the Bill, known as the Conciliation Bill, to extend 
Household Suffrage to women. 2 

1 Standard, Oct. 17, 1911. 

2 See resolution adopted by the executive committee of the 
Women's Liberal Federation, quoted in Standard, October 30, 1911 : 

"That . . . the executive resolves that until definite promises are 
made of a Government Reform Bill including women they will 
support by all means in their power the Bill promoted by the 
Conciliation Committee and will pursue with regard to amendments 
to that Bill such a policy as circumstances show to be most likely 
to secure for it a substantial third reading majority." 


The Conciliation Committee and the suffrage societies 
successfully refuted the charge made against the Con- 
ciliation Bill that it was undemocratic. It would, if 
passed, enfranchise approximately 1,000,000 women, and 
it was proved conclusively, by careful analysis of the 
social status of women householders in a large and 
representative group of constituencies, that the over- 
whelming majority of these would be working-class 
women. In London (1908) the proportion of working- 
class women was shown to be 87 per cent., in Dundee 
(1910), 89 per cent., Bangor and Carnarvon (1910), 
75 per cent. The average in about fifty representative 
constituencies, where the investigation was conducted 
under the auspices of the Independent Labour Party, 
was shown to be 82 per cent. The Bill gave no repre- 
sentation to property whatever. The only qualifica- 
tion which it recognised was that of the resident 

This Bill, drawn in such a way as not to admit of 
amendment, was introduced by Mr. Shackleton, Labour 
member for Clitheroe in the new Parliament, elected in 
January 1910. Two days of Government time were 
given for its second reading in July of that year. It 
was the first time a Women's Suffrage Bill had been 
the subject of a full-dress debate. Parliamentary 
leaders on both sides took part in it, and the voting 
was left to the free judgment of the House of Commons. 
Among the supporters of the Bill were Mr. (now Viscount) 
Haldane, Mr. Arthur Balfour, Mr. Philip Snowden, and 
Mr. W. Redmond, while among its opponents were 
Mr. Asquith, Mr. Austen Chamberlain, Mr. F. E. Smith, 
and Mr. Haviland Burke. Mr. Lloyd George and Mr. 
Winston Churchill also vehemently opposed the Bill, 
not on the ground of opposition to women's en- 
franchisement, but because of the alleged undemocratic 
character of this particular measure, and because it 
was introduced in a form that did not admit of amend- 
ment. The division resulted in the large majority of 
110 for the second reading, a figure in excess of anything 
which the Government could command for their chief 


party measures. An analysis of the division list gave 
the following results, omitting pairs of whom there 
were 24 : 

For the Bill Against the Bill 

Liberals ... 161 , 60 

Unionists ... 87 113 

Labour ... 31 2 

Nationalists . . 20 14 

299 189 

Notwithstanding this large majority the Bill was 
destined to make no further progress that session ; but 
the interval between the second reading and the as- 
sembling of Parliament for the autumn session was 
utilised for the organisation of the most remarkable 
series of public demonstrations of an entirely peaceful 
character which have probably ever been held in this 
country in support of any extension of the suffrage. It 
was estimated that no fewer than 4000 public meetings 
were held in the four months between July and 
November ; the largest halls all over the country w r ere 
filled again and again ; the Albert Hall was filled twice 
in one week ; the largest meeting ever held in Hyde 
Park, when more than half a million of people were 
assembled, w r as organised by the Women's Social and 
Political Union. It was at this moment that the 
remarkable movement, already referred to in Chapter V., 
was begun the series of petitions from Town and other 
locally elected Councils for the speedy passing into law 
of the measure known as the Conciliation Bill. The 
city of Glasgow led the way with a unanimous vote of 
its Council. 

During this autumn Sir Edward Grey, Mr. Birrell, 
and Mr. Bunciman made public declarations in support 
of women's suffrage, and said that in their opinion 
facilities for the further progress of the Bill and its 
passage into law ought to be provided in 1911. A few 
months later Lord Haldane said he hoped " the Bill 
would pass quickly." The most important practical 


gain for the suffrage movement was, however, achieved 
in November 1910. Early in the month Mr. Asquith 
had announced the intention of his Government again 
immediately to dissolve Parliament ; and on the 22nd, 
in reply to a question in the House, he said that the 
Government would, " if they were still in power, give 
facilities in the next Parliament for effectively pro- 
ceeding with a [Women's Suffrage] Bill, if so framed as 
to admit of free amendment." These words gave to 
suffragists the key which enabled them to unlock the 
doors which barred their progress. The more astute 
political minds among the anti-suffragists immediately 
saw the importance of this promise. The Times, 
November 24, announced that it made women's 
suffrage an issue before the country at the coming 
election, and added, " If the election confirms the 
Government in power the new Parliament mil be con- 
sidered to have received a mandate on the subject of 
women's suffrage" x 

The feather-heads could see nothing of any im- 
portance in this promise, and the Anti-Suffrage Review 
allowed itself the treat of entitling an article " Nod and 
wink promises." All suffragists of any experience, 
however, felt that their cause had received an im- 
mensely important impetus, and that they were gaining 
ground not by painful inches but by furlongs. When the 
session of 1911 opened, the Conciliation Committee was 
again formed, and good luck smiled upon its members, 
for three of them drew the first, second, and third places 
in the ballot, and thus secured an excellent place for 
the second reading of the Bill. The member in charge 
was Sir George Kemp, who sits for N.W. Manchester. 
The Bill was, of course, drawn so as to admit of free 
amendment. The second reading was on May 5, 1911, 
and there voted for it 255, and against it 88. The 
majority of 110 in 1910 had thus grown in 1911 to 167. 
There were 55 pairs ; but the number of members 
wishing to pair in favour of the Bill was so great that 

1 See " Political Notes," Times, November 24, 1910. 


the demand could not be satisfied. Six of these 
to the papers explaining their position. Adding the 
pairs, and those who desired to pair, but were unable 
to do so, the analysis works out as follows : 

For the Bill Against the Bill 
Liberals ... 174 48 

Conservatives. . 79 86 

Labour .... 32 

Nationalists . . 31 9 

31? 143~ 

Almost immediately after this an announcement was 
made from the front bench that Mr. Asquith's promise 
of the previous November that an opportunity should 
be given for proceeding with the Bill in all its stages 
would be fulfilled during the session of 1912. There 
was for a time some fencing and difficulty over the 
point whether this promise applied exclusively to the 
Conciliation Bill or to any Women's Suffrage Bill which 
might obtain a place in the ballot for second reading. 
All doubt on this subject was finally set at rest on 
August 23, by a letter from Mr. Asquith to Lord 
Lytton, in which the Prime Minister stated that the 
promises were given in regard to the Conciliation Bill, 
and that they would be strictly adhered to both in 
letter and in spirit. 

This, then, was the position of the suffrage question 
between the close of the summer session and the be- 
ginning of November 1911. All the suffrage societies 
were working in complete harmony on the same lines 
and for the same Bill. The militant societies had 
suspended militant tactics, and also their anti-govern- 
ment election policy. The Women's Liberal Federation, 
whose co-operation was of great and obvious importance, 
were uniting their efforts with those of the suffrage 
societies, when on November 7, a bombshell was 
dropped among them in the speech of the Prime Minister, 
replying to a deputation from the People's Suffrage 
Federation, who presented a memorial asking for adult 
suffrage. Mr. Asquith then announced that it was the 


intention of his Government to introduce during the 
coming session (1912) the Electoral Reform Bill, which 
he had foreshadowed in 1908, that all existing franchises 
would be swept away, plural voting abolished, and the 
period of residence reduced. The new franchise was 
to be based on citizenship, and votes were to be given 
" to citizens of full age and competent understanding." 
But no place was found within the four corners of the 
Bill for the enfranchisement of women. Mr. Asquith 
reiterated his promise of facilities for the Conciliation 
Bill, and then merely dismissed the subject of women's 
suffrage with the remark that his opinions upon it were 
well known. If it had been his object to enrage every 
women's suffragist to the point of frenzy, he could not 
have acted with greater perspicacity. Years of un- 
exampled effort and self-sacrifice had been expended by 
women to force upon the Government the enfranchise- 
ment of women, and when the Prime Minister spoke the 
only promise he made was to give more votes to men. 
Mrs. Bernard Shaw exactly expressed the sentiments of 
women's suffragists, whether militant or non-militant, 
when she wrote that Mr. Asquith's speech filled her with f 
" an impulse of blind rage " ; she felt she had been ! 
personally insulted, and that he had said to her in 
effect " that) the vilest male wretch who can contrive 
to keep a house of ill-fame shall have a vote, and that 
the noblest woman in England shall not have one be- 
cause she is a female " (The Times, November 21, 1911). 
It is never safe to act under an impulse of blind rage, 
and very soon a closer Imowledge of the actual facts 
surrounding and explaining the situation brought the 
conviction home to many of us, indeed it may be stated 
to the whole body of suffragists with one important 
exception, 1 that the new situation created by Mr. 
Asquith's speech, so far from decreasing the chances 
of success for women's suffrage in 1912 had very greatly 
strengthened them. First of all we were cheered by 

1 The Woman's Social and Political Union dissented from this 
view. They resumed militant tactics, and scenes of considerable 
disorder occurred on November 21 and November 29, 1911. 


the courageous and outspoken remonstrances on behalf 
of w men made by The Manchester Guardian and The 
N.ation. The Manchester Guardian, (November 9, 1911), 
said that the exclusion of women would be "an outrage 
and, we hope, an impossibility. ... No Government 
calling itself Liberal could so far betray Liberal principles 
without incurring deep and lasting discredit and ultimate 
disaster." The Labour party, through its chairman, 
Mr. Ramsay MacDonald, M.P., also spoke out very 
plainly. " We shall take care," he said, " that the 
Manhood Suffrage Bill is not used to destroy the success 
of the women's agitation, because we have to admit 
that it has been the women's agitation that has brought the 
question of the franchise both for men and women to the 
front at the present time." Like other experienced 
Parliamentarians, he advised us to hold the Govern- 
ment to their pledges about the Conciliation Bill until 
we had actually secured something better (The Man- 
chester Guardian, November 9, 1911). 

Then we began to hear from those we knew we could 
trust of meetings that were being held of suffrage 
members of the Government to decide upon a plan of 
action, so as to secure for women a better chance of 
enfranchisement through the operation of an amend- 
ment to the Government Bill than we could have if we 
relied upon the Conciliation Bill alone. An invitation 
was received from the Prime Minister to all the suffrage 
societies to attend a deputation on the subject. The 
full report of that deputation was in all the papers of 
November 18, 1911. It is sufficient here to say that 
when Mr. Asquith spoke he acknowledged the strength 
and intensity of the demand for women's suffrage, and 
admitted that in opposing it he was in a minority both 
in his Cabinet and in his party ; finally, and most 
important of all, he added that although he could not 
initiate and propose the change which women were 
seeking, he was prepared to bow to, and acquiesce in, 
the deliberate judgment of the House of Commons, and 
that it was quite in accordance with the best traditions 
of English public life that he should act thus. A great 


majority of those who were present thought that the 
Prime Minister had recognised that women's suffrage 
was inevitable, and that it would not be for the benefit 
of his party that he should withstand to the last this 
great advance in human freedom. 

Mr. Asquith gave positive and definite answers in 
the affirmative to the four questions which were 
asked by the National Union of Women's Suffrage 
Societies : 

1. Is it the intention of the Government that the Reform Bill 
shall go through all its stages in 1912 ? 

2. Will the Bill be drafted in such a way as to admit of any 
amendments introducing women on other terms than men ? 

3. Will the Government undertake not to oppose such amend- 
ments ? 

4. Will the Government regard any amendment enfranchising 
woman which is carried as an integral part of the Bill in 
all its stages ? 

Almost immediately after this Mr. Lloyd George 
authorised the public announcement that he was 
himself prepared to move the women's suffrage amend- 
ment to the Reform Bill, or, if it was thought best in 
the interests of women's suffrage, he would be pleased 
to stand aside in favour of Sir Edward Grey or of some 
leading Conservative. It has been indicated very 
plainly that the amendment Mr. Lloyd George himself 
favours will be one for the enfranchisement of house- 
holders and wives of householders. A Bill to this effect 
has been some time before Parliament, and is familiarly 
known as Dickinson, No. 2; it enacts that when a 
husband and wife reside together in premises for which, 
under the existing law, the husband is entitled to vote, 
the wife shall also be entitled to vote as a joint-occupier. 
There is a parallel for a provision of this kind in the 
existing franchise law of Norway. Sir Edward Grey, 
Mr. Lloyd George, Mr. Ramsay MacDonald, and other 
suffragists in and out of the House of Commons concur 
in the opinion that the present situation gives our 
movement almost a certainty of success in the session 
of 1912. 



Mr. Lloyd George opened his campaign for women's 
suffrage in an important speech at Bath on November 
24, 1911. It was a men's meeting, the occasion being 
the Annual Congress of the Liberal Federation. He 
was received with enthusiasm and made a powerful 
and well-reasoned speech in favour of the enfranchise- 
ment of women. This was followed in December 16 by 
a meeting in London of the Women's Liberal Federation 
addressed by Sir Edward Grey and Mr. Lloyd George. 1 
The former dwelt upon the reasons which weighed with 
him in favour of the representation of women, and in- 
dicated that the amendment to the Reform Bill which 
he favoured w r ould be on the lines of Women's Suffrage 
in Norway, i.e. not Adult Suffrage, but suffrage for 
women householders, including wives (as indicated on 
p. 81). Mr. Lloyd George dwelt on the essential partner- 
ship of men and women in all the greatest things in 
human life, and urged that this partnership should be 
extended to politics. Thus the year 1911 ended with 
every prospect of a hard won Parliamentary victory 
for women's suffrage in 1912. Women's suffrage always 
has been, and will remain, a non-party question. 
The Conservative and Unionist Women's Franchise 
Association is working as keenly as any of the other 
suffrage societies. We shall not succeed in 1912 unless 
we are successful in attracting the support of Conser- 
vatives as well as Liberals and Radicals. To aid us in 
the final struggle it is of no little value that we have 
the promise of a week's Government time for the Con- 
ciliation Bill, if our hopes of carrying a satisfactory 
amendment to the Reform Bill should be frustrated. 

We are on the eve of the fulfilment of our hopes. 
The goal towards which many of us have been striving 
for nearly half a century is in sight. I appeal to each 
and all of my fellow-suffragists not to be over confident, 
but so to act as if the success of the suffrage cause de- 
pended on herself alone. And even if our anticipated 

1 These speeches can be obtained from the Women's Liberal 
Federation, 2 Victoria Street, London, S.W. 


victory should be once more delayed, I appeal to them 
again not to despond but to stand firm and fast, and be 
prepared to work on as zealously and as steadfastly as 
of old. 

A splendid lesson reaches us from America. The 
great victory for women's suffrage in California in 
October 1911 was at first reported to be a defeat. A 
group of the leaders, including Dr. Anna Shaw, had 
been sitting up to the small hours of the morning in 
the New York Women's Suffrage Office, receiving news 
from California, 3000 miles away. The first returns 
were so bad that it looked as if nothing could save the 
situation ; and the grief was all the greater because 
victory had been confidently counted on. Dr. Anna 
Shaw went away in deep despondency. Presently 
she came back saying she could not sleep, and walking 
backwards and forwards in the office, she explained 
a new plan of campaign which her fertile brain had 
already originated. This is the spirit which is uncon- 
querable and it is our spirit too. 

He who runs may read the signs of the times. Every- 
thing points to the growing volume and force of the 
women's movement. Even if victory should be delayed 
it cannot be delayed long. The suffragists ought to be 
the happiest of mankind, if happiness has been correctly 
defined as the perpetual striving for an object of supreme 
excellence and constantly making a nearer approach 
to it. 




Reprinted with abbreviations, by kind permission of the 

National Union of Women' 's Suffrage Societies 

14 Great Smith Street, Westminster 



IN 1832, the word " male " introduced into the Reform 
Act (before " person ") restricted the Parliamentary 
franchise to men, and debarred women from its use. 

1850, Lord Brougham's Act came into operation, 
which ruled that, in the law of the United Kingdom, 
" words importing the masculine gender shall be deemed 
to include females, unless the contrary is expressly 

In 1867, John Stuarfc Mill moved an amendment to 
the Representation of the People Bill (Clause 4), to 
leave out the word " man " and substitute " person." 
This amendment was lost by a majority of 123. 

In 1868, the judges in the Chorlton v. longs case ruled 
that in the case of the Parliamentary franchise, the 
word " man " does not include " woman " when re- 
ferring to privileges granted by the State. 

Since 1869, Bills and Resolutions have been constantly 
before the House of Commons. Debates took place in 
1870 (twice), 1871, 1872, 1873, 1875, 1876, 1877, 1878, 
1879, 1883, 1884, 1886, 1892, 1897, 1904, 1905, 1908 
(twice), 1910, 1911. 

Altogether, besides resolutions, thirteen Bills have 



been introduced into the House of Commons, and 
seven passed their second reading, i.e. in the years 
1870, 1886, 1897, 1908, 1909, 1910, 1911. There has 
been a majority in the House of Commons in favour of 
women's suffrage since 1886. 


In 1910 the Conciliation Committee was formed in 
the House of Commons. With the exception of the 
chairman, the Earl of Lytton, and the Hon. Secretary, 
Mr. Brailsford, it consisted of members of the House 
of Commons representative of all the political parties. 
This committee drafted a Bill which extended the Parlia- 
mentary franchise to women householders (about one 
million in all). This Bill, popularly known as the 
" Conciliation Bill," was introduced into the House of 
Commons by Mr. Shackleton. Two days of Government 
time were allotted to it, and on July 13, 1910, it 
passed its second reading by a majority of 110, a larger 
majority than the Government got for any of its 
measures, including the Budget. 

Time was refused for the further stages necessary 
for its passage into law, and Parliament dissolved in 
November 1910. 

In the new Parliament Sir George Kemp re-intro- 
duced the Bill ; it was nearly the same Bill as that 
introduced by Mr. Shackleton ; but it was given a more 
general title, leaving it open to amendment. The 
second reading of this Bill took place on May 5, 1911, 
and secured a majority of 167. 


The first women's suffrage societies were founded in 
Manchester, in London, and in Edinburgh in 1867, and 
in Bristol and in Birmingham in 1868. 

These united to form the National Union of Women's 
Suffrage Societies. 

This Union has grown into a large and powerful body, 


its progress during the last two years being especially 

In January 1909 there were 70 affiliated societies ; 
in October 1911 there were 305 affiliated societies, 
and new societies are formed every week. 

Societies of the National Union are now, therefore, 
in existence in all parts of Great Britain, and take 
an active part in electoral work. The National Union 
regards this part of its work as the most important it 
has to do, both as propaganda and as a means of bring- 
ing pressure to bear upon the Government. Its election 
policy is to oppose its enemies and support its friends, 
and in carrying out this policy it disregards all parties. 

For the purposes of its peaceful propaganda, whether 
by public meetings, petitions, or other constitutional 
forms of agitation, the N.U.W.S.S. has, during the past 
year (1910), alone, raised considerably over 20,000. 
More than 100,000 has also been raised for suffrage 
work by the Women's Social and Political Union. 


These have been organised in great numbers. For 
example : 

In February 1907, 3000 women marched in procession 

in London, from Hyde Park to Exeter Hall. 
In October 1907, 1500 women marched in procession 

through Edinburgh. 
In October 1907, 2000 women marched in procession 

through Manchester. 
In June 1908, 15,000 women marched in procession in 

London to the Albert Hall. 

In June 1911 more than 40,000 women, representing 
all the suffrage societies, walked in a procession 
four miles long to the Albert Hall. 
Public meetings have been held all over the country 
by all the suffrage societies. It is obviously impos- 
sible to enumerate them. We content ourselves -with 
a rough estimate of meetings held in support of the 
" Conciliation Bill." These amount to, at least, 5000 


meetings, including a demonstration in Hyde Park, 
attended by half a million people, a demonstration 
in Trafalgar Square, attended by 10,000 people. Also 
six Albert Hall meetings (two in one week), and de- 
monstrations held in other cities than London, e.g., 
Manchester (2), Edinburgh, Bristol, Newcastle, Guild- 
ford, &c., fec. 

These figures include meetings held by the N.tJ.W.S.S. 
and other societies ; but leave out of account out-door 
meetings held in such numbers as to make even a rough 
estimate impossible. During the summer and autumn 
of 1910 there were at least two or three hundred every 


Many other societies have been formed, having 
women's suffrage as their sole object. Such are the 
National Women's Social and Political Union, the 
Men's League for Women's Suffrage, the Women's 
Freedom League, the National Industrial and Pro- 
fessional Women's Suffrage Society, the New Union, 
the New Constitutional Society, the Men's Political 
Union, the Church League, the Free Church League, 
the League of Catholic Women, the League of the 
Society of Friends, the Tax-Resistance League. Be- 
sides such groups as the Artists' League, the Suffrage 
Atelier, the Actresses' Franchise League, the Society 
of Women Graduates, the Women Writers' Suffrage 
League, the Younger Suffragists, the Cambridge Uni- 
versity Men's League, the London Graduates' Union for 
Women's Suffrage, the Gymnastic Teachers' Suffrage 
Society, &c., &c. 

There is also the Irish Women's Suffrage and Local 
Government Association, and an Irish Women's Franchise 

Within the political parties there have been formed 
the Forward Suffrage Union (within the Women's Liberal 
Federation), the Conservative and Unionist Women's 
Franchise Association, the People's Suffrage Federation 



(which demands the suffrage for all adult men 

The following organisations have officially identified 
themselves with the demand for some measure of 
women's suffrage : the London Liberal Federation, 
the Women's Liberal Federation, the Welsh Women's 
Liberal Federation, the Independent Labour Party, 
the Fabian Society. 

Other societies have repeatedly petitioned Parliament, 
or passed resolutions asking for a measure of women's 
suffrage. Among them the National British Women's 
Temperance Association (148,000 members), the Scottish 
Union of the above (42,000 members), the National 
Union of Women Workers (the largest Women's 
Union, numbers not exactly known), the International 
Council of Women, the Association of Headmistresses, 
the Association of University Women Teachers, the 
Incorporated Assistant Mistresses in Secondary Schools, 
the Society of Registered Nurses, the Nurses' Interna- 
tional Congress, the Women's Co-operative Guild (the 
only organised body representing the married working- 
women of this country). 

Resolutions in favour of the " Conciliation Bill " have 
been passed by 49 Trades and Labour Councils, and 36 
Trades Unions and Federations. Moreover, during the 
year between October 1910 and October 1911 more 
than 130 Town and other local Councils petitioned 
Parliament in favour of women's suffrage ; among 
the Town Councils who have done this are those of 
Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Birmingham, Leeds, 
Bradford, Huddersfield, Brighton, Dover, Edinburgh, 
Glasgow, Dundee, Inverness, Dublin, 1 Limerick, Cork, 
Cardiff, and Bangor. 

It is to be remembered that these bodies represent 
women as well as men, as women already possess the 
municipal franchise. 

1 The Corporation of Dublin authorised the Lord Mayor and 
other officers to attend in their robes and present the Dublin 
petition in person at the Bar of the House of Commons. 




The suffrage movement has now become world-wide. 
The International Women's Suffrage Alliance, which 
meets quadrennially, includes societies in Austria, 
Australia, Belgium, Bohemia, Bulgaria, Canada, Den- 
mark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, 
Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Russia, 
Cape Colony, Natal, Sweden, Switzerland, the United 

Women's suffrage was granted in 

Wyoming, U.S.A. in 1869 

Colorado, U.S.A. 1893 

New Zealand . 1893 

South Australia 1893 

Utah, U.S.A. . 1895 

Idaho, U.S.A. . 1896 

W. Australia . 1899 
The Commonwealth of 

Australia , 1902 

New South Wales . . in 1902 

Tasmania 1903 

Queensland . . . . 1905 

Finland 1907 

Norway 1908 

Victoria ,,1909 

Washington, U.S.A. . 1910 

California, U.S.A. 


It will be noticed that all the Australian States have 
now granted women's suffrage. That they have done 
so proves that they realised its beneficial effects, where 
they could actually see it in working as State after 
State came into line. 


The Subjection of Women. By J. S. Mill. 

On Liberty. By J. S. Mill. 

On Representative Government. By J. S. Mill. 

Essays and Dissertations (voL ii.)* By J. S. Mill. Article by Mrs. 

Mill on the Enfranchisement of Women. 
Letters. By J. S. Mill. Edited by Hugh Elliot. 
Record of Women's Suffrage. By Helen Blackburn. 
A Handbook for Women. By Helen Blackburn. 
Articles on Women's Rights in Encyclopcedia Britannica and in 

Chambers' s Encyclopcedia. 

The Emancipation of English Women. By W. Lyon Blease. 
Questions Relating to Women. By Emily Davies, LL.D. 
Women and Labour. By Olive Schreiner. 
The Suffragette. By E. Sylvia Pankhurst. 

The Status of Women, 1066-1909. By the Misses Wallis Chapman. 
Women's Work in Local Government. By Jane E. Brownlow. 
The Life of Josephine Butler. 
Pioneer Work in Opening the Medical Profession to Women. By 

Dr. Elizabeth BlackwelL 

Women's Suffrage in Many Lands. By Alice Zimmern. 
The Englishwoman. By David Staars. 
Tlie Women'' s Franchise Movement in New Zealand. By W. Sidney 

Le Vote des Femmes. Par Ferdinand Buisson, Depute de la Seine 

et President de la Commission du Suffrage UniverseL 
Women and Economics. By Charlotte Perkins Gilman. 
Common-sense Applied to Women's Suffrage. By Mary Putnam 

Jacobi, M.D. 

Equal Suffrage. By Helen Sumner, Ph.D. 
A Short History of Women's Rights. By Eugene Hecker. 
Reports of the International Women's Suffrage Alliance. 



ACTON, Lord, on political vio- 
lence, 66 
Adult Suffrage Bill, 1909, 70 

1912, 78-82 

America, Women's Suffrage in, 89 
Amos, Mr. and Mrs. Sheldon, 22 
Anderson, Mrs. Garrett, M.D. 

See Garrett 

Anti-Corn Law League, 13 
Anti-slavery movement in 
America, 5 

Congress, 13 

Anti-Suffrage League, the, 46 
Anti-Suffrage Review, quoted, 47, 

52, 77 
Anti-suffragists, arguments of, 14 

and the Insurance Bill, 57 

and municipal franchise, 50, 

51, 52 

letter against Conciliation 

Bill, 55, 56 

movement in United States, 


protest in Nineteenth Cen- 
tury (1889), 46 

tactics of, 33, 34, 35, 51-54 

Ashton, Miss Margaret, 51 
Asquith, Mr., on facilities for 
Suffrage Bill, 68, 77, 78 

on position of women under 

Manhood Suffrage Bill, 78, 80, 

on women's political ac- 
tivity, 32 

on Women's Suffrage, 35, 

70, 71, 80 

Australia, Women's Suffrage in, 
35, 40, 42, 43, 59, 89 

BANNERMAN, Sir H. Campbell, on 

Women's Suffrage, 69 
Becker, Miss Lydia, 10, 21 

Begg, Mr. FaithfuII, Women's 

Suffrage Bill of, 34, 60 
Birrell, Mr., on Women's Suffrage, 


Blackwell, Dr. Elizabeth, 22 
Blake, Miss Jex, 22 
Bodichon, Mrs., 20, 22 
Borthwick, Sir Algernon, 24, 30 
Brailsford, Mr. H. N., 73, 85 
Bright, Mr. Jacob, 23 
Bright, John, on Parliamentary 

Reform, 18 

on Women's Suffrage, 19 

Brougham's Act, Lord, I860, 9 
Browning, E. B., Aurora Leigh, 12 
Bryce, Rt. Hon. James, 34 
Burke on Dissenters' Petition, 54 
Butler, Mrs. Josephine, 20, 22 

CALTFOBNIA, Women's Suffrage 
in, 83, 89 

Canvassing, 29, 30 

Chorlton v. Lings, case of, 10, 11 

Churchill, Lord Randolph, 30 

Churchill, Mr. Winston, on mili- 
tant tactics, 66, 67 

on Women's Suffrage, 72, 75 

Clark, Mrs. Helen, 27 

Cobbe, Frances Power, 20 

Cobden on Women's Suffrage, 13 

Conciliation Committee, the, 72, 
73, 85 

Conciliation Bill (Mr. Shackle- 
ton's), 1910, 55, 75, 85 

(Sir George Kemp's), 1911, 

73-76, 77, 85 

Anti Suffragists' protest 

against, 55, 56 

petitions and resolutions in 

favour of, 88 

Condorcet, 5 

Contagious Diseases Acts, 22 



Corrupt Practices Act, 29, 30 
Creighton, Mrs., 44 
Crimean War, the, 14 
Cromer, Lord, on Women's Suff- 
rage, 47 
Cromwell, on gains by force, 64 

DAVIES, Miss Emily, 20, 21, 22 
Demonstrations, public, 76, 86 
Despard, Mrs., 63 
Disraeli, on Women's Suffrage, 13, 

Dissenters' Petition, Burke on, 

54, 55 

Divorce Act, 1857, 15 
Dublin, Lord Mayor of, 88>. 

ELECTORAL Reform Bill, 1912, 

Elmy, Mrs. Wolstenholme, 22 

FAWCETT, The Rt. Hon. H., 20, 62 
Finland, Women's Suffrage in, 58, 

59, 89 
Fisher, Mr., on Women's Suffrage, 


Five Mile Act, 54 
Fry, Mrs. Elizabeth, 6 

GARRETT, Miss Elizabeth, 19, 20, 


Garrison, William Lloyd, 13 
General Election, 1910, 72 
Gladstone, Mr., on Divorce Bill, 

1857, 15 

on household suffrage, 25 

opposition to Reform Bill, 

1884, 27 

on women's political ac- 
tivity, 32 
on Women's Suffrage, 27, 

28, 33 

Godwin, William, 5 
Goschen, Lord, on agricultural 

labourers' franchise, 25 
Grey, Mrs. William, 22 
Grey, Sir Edward, on Women's 

Suffrage, 72, 76, 81, 82 
Guardianship of Children Act, 22 
Gurney, Miss, 22 
Rt. Hon. Russell, 22, 23 

HALDANE, Lord, on Women's 
Suffrage, 69, 75, 76 

Hall, Sir John, 37, 38 

Harrison, Frederic, on powers of 

the elector, 53 
HerscheU, Miss Caroline, 12 
Hill, Miss Davenport. 20 
Household Suffrage, 25, 73, 74, 81 
Howard, Mr. G., Adult Suffrage 

Bill, 1909, 70 

IDDESLEIGH, Lord. See North- 

Indian Mutiny, 14 

Infants' Custody Act, 12 

Insurance Bill, the, 57 

Isle of Man, Women's Suffrage 
in, 25 

JAMES, Lord, on Corrupt Prac- 
tices Act, 29, 30 

on Women's Suffrage, 49, 50 

Jameson, Mrs., 12 

KEMP, Sir George, Conciliation 
Bill (1911) introduced by, 24, 
77, 85 

Knight, Anne, 13 

LABOTJCHERE, Mr., attitude to 

Suffrage Bills, 34 
Langton, Lady Anna Gore, 20 
Leavitt, Mrs., 37 
Lees, Mrs., 51 
Lloyd George, Mr., on Women's 

Suffrage, 69, 75, 81 
Local Government Qualification 

of Women's Act, 1907, 49, 50 
Lyne, Sir \Villiam, on Women's 

Suffrage, 42 
Lytton, Earl of, 7 n, 73, 78, 85 

MAC DONALD, Mr. Ramsay, 80, 81 
M'Laren, Mrs. Duncan, 22 
McLaren, Mr. Walter, 26 
Manchester Guardian, The, on 

Women's Suffrage, 79 
Manhood Suffrage Bill, 1912, 78- 


Markham, Miss Violet, 50, 51 
Married Women's Property Act, 

22, 23 

Martineau, Harriet, 20 
Medical profession opened to 

women, 22 

Militant Societies, the, 58 
election policy of, 67 


Mill, James, on Women's Suffrage, 
6, 7, 15 

Mill, John Stuart, on enfranchise- 
ment of women, 16, 17, 19 

and Women's Parliamentary 

Petition, 20 

Women's Suffrage Amend- 
ment Bill, 19, 20, 23 

Mill, Mrs. John Stuart, on En- 
franchisement of Women, 16, 17 

Morley, Viscount, 26, 27, 62 

Mott, Lucretia, 14 

Mviller, Mrs., 37 

Municipal Corporation Act, 1835, 

Municipal suffrage, 9, 20, 48 

Anti-Suffragist support of, 


NATIONAL Union of Women's 
Suffrage Societies, 21, 22, 62, 81, 

election policy, of 67 

protests against militant 

tactics, 63 

National Women's Liberal Asso- 
ciation, 31 

New Zealand, Women's Suffrage 
in, 35, 36, 37, 89 

electoral roll of, 41 

Nightingale, Miss Florence, 14, 20 
Northcote, Sir Stafford, 24 
Norton, Hon. Mrs., 11, 12 
Norway, Women's Suffrage in, 
51, 59, 89 


Pankhurst, Mrs. and Miss, 60 

People's Suffrage Federation, 78, 

Peterloo Massacre, the, 7 

Petitions from Town Councils, 55, 

Pochin, Mrs., 22 

Poor Law Guardians, qualifica- 
tions of, 50 

Primrose League, the, 5, 30 

Public meetings and demonstra- 
tions, 76, 86 

RATHBONE, Miss Eleanor, 51 
Reeves, W. P., on Women's 

Suffrage, 38 
Reform Acts, exclusion of females, 


Reform Bill, 1832 and 1867, 6, 7, 9 

1884, 27-29 

1912, 78-82 

Rollit, Sir A., Women's Suffrage 

Bill (1892) introduced by, 33, 

Royal Astronomical Society, 

women members of, 12 
Runciman, Mr., on Women's 

Suffrage, 76 

SCHOOL Boards, women members 
of, 20, 21 

Seddon, Mr. Richard, 37 

Serjeant Talfourd's Act, 1839, 12 

Shackleton, Mr., Conciliation Bill, 
1910, 55, 75, 85 

Shaw, Dr. Anna, 82 

Shaw, Mrs. Bernard, on Reform 
Suffrage Bill, 1912, 79 

Sheffield Female Political Asso- 
ciation, 13 

Sherriff, Miss, 22 

Sidgwick, Henry, 22 

Smith, Mr. Goldwin, 35, 39 

Smith, Sydney, on education for 
women, 6 

Societies, Suffrage, 87 

South African War, the, 58, 59, 60 

Somerville, Mrs., 12, 20 

Stanfield, Sir James, 22 

Stanger, Mr., Women's Suffrage 
Bill (1908) introduced by, 70 

Stanhope, Mrs. Spencer, quoted, 9 

Stanton, Elizabeth Cady, 14 

Stevenson, Miss Flora, 21 

Stuart, Mr. James, 22 

Suffrage Societies, 85, 87 

Swanwick, Miss, 20 

TAYLOR, Mrs. Peter, 20 

Test Act, the, 54 

Thackeray, in Esmond, on domes- 
tic tyranny, 12 

Times, The, on Women's Suffrage, 

Town Councils, petitions from, 85, 

Town and County Councils Quali- 
fication Bill, 50, 61 

Trades Union Congress (Aber- 
deen) and Women's Suffrage, 

Twain, Mark, on Women's Suff- 
rage, 65 


UNITED States, Anti - suf 

movement in, 47 
Women's Suffrage in, 14, 35, 

University education opened to 

women, 22 
Unwin, Mrs. Cobden, 27 

VOTERS' Petition, the, 1910, 72 

WALPOLE, Horace, on Mary 

Wollstonecraft, 5 
Ward, Mrs. Humphry, on 

Women's Suffrage, 35, 44, 50, 

on Conciliation Bill, 1911, 

on representation in local 

government, 48, 49 

political activity of, 56 

Webb, Mrs. Sidney, 44 
Wheeler, Mrs., on Women's Suff- 
rage, 7 

Wollstonecraft, Mary, 6, 6 
Women, in local government, 

as members of School 

Boards, 21 

as municipal voters, 9, 20 

as Poor Law Guardians, 50 

political activity of, 13, 30, 

31, 32, 56, 57 

Women's Freedom League, 63 
Women's Liberal Federation, 30, 

31, 78 

and Conciliation Bill, 74 

Women's Rights Convention at 

Seneca Falls, U.S.A., 14 
Women's Social and Political 

Union, 60 

election policy of, 67 

Women's Suffrage, arguments 

against, 34 
beginnings of, 5 


Women's Suffrage, Conservative 

objections to, 73 
not a party question, 23, 73, 


support of, 24 

historical aspect of, 8 

in Greater Britain, 34 

in Isle of Man, 25 

in other countries, 89 

in United States, 35, 47, 89 

Liberal objections to, 73 

support of, 23 

pioneers of, 5, 10, 13, 14, 16, 

20, 21, 22 

political aspect of, 15 

position in 1880-1884, 25- 

position under Reform Bill, 

1912, 78-82 

recent developments, 69 

resolutions and petitions in 

favour of, 19, 26, 84, 88 

Societies, 21, 22, 85, 87 

summary of movement, 84 

Women's Suffrage Amendment 

(J. S. Mill's), 1867, 23 
Women's Suffrage Amendment 

Bill (Mr. WoodalTs), 1884, 23, 

28, 29 
Women's Suffrage BiU, 1870 (Mr. 

Jacob Bright's), 23 

1892 (Sir A. Rollit's), 33 

1897 (Mr. F. Begg's), 34, 


1908 (Mr. Stanger's), 70 

1910 (Mr. Shaekleton's), 55, 

75, 85 
1911 (Sir G. Kemp's), 77, 85. 

See also Summary, p. 84 
Woodall, Mr., Suffrage Amend- 
ment Bill (1884) introduced by, 

28, 29 
Wyoming, Women's Suffrage in, 

35, 89 

Printed by BALLANTYNE, HANSON <&* Co. 
Edinburgh & London 





The volumes now (February 1912) issued are marked with 

an asteris^T'TCTu'rTBer^twelve volumes 

will be issued in May 


1. Introduction to Science . . .{ Bv J^g- D " WhethMn, M.A., 

2. Embryology The Beginnings of Life By Prof. Gerald Leighton, M.D. 

3. Biology-The Science of Life . .{ B * ^Jp^^ 6 ' M ' A " 

4. Animal Life . . . . .' .{By Prof.K W/MacBrid., D.Sc., 

5. Botany; The Modern Study of Plants ^ ^; L C ^ St0 ^ D ' Se " Ph ' D " 

6. Bacteriology . . . . .{Byw E. arnegie Dickson, M.D., 

7. Geology ....... By the Rev. T. G. Bonney, F.R.S. 

8. Evolution ....... By E. S. Goodrich, M. A., F.R.S. 

9 . Darwin ....... {ByP^. W. Garstang,M.A.,D.Sc., 

10. Heredity ....... By J. A. S. Watson, B.Sc. 

ii. Chemistry of Non-living Things . By Prof. E. C. C. Baly, F.R.S. 

12. Organic Chemistry .... By Prof. J. B. Cohen, B.Sc., F.R.S. 

13. The Principles of Electricity . . By Norman R. Campbell, M.A. 

14. Radiation ..... , By P. Phillips, D.Sc. 

.,5. The Science of th. Star, . . ^\^ 
16. Light, according to Modern Science By P. Phillips, D.Sc. 
, 7 . Weather-Science ..... {*W 

18. Hypnotism ...... By Alice Hutchison, M.D. 

X9> ^Mcfther A M ther>S B k .^ a }By a University Woman. 

ao. Youth and Sex Dangers and Safe-/ By Mary Scharlieb,M.D., M.S., and 

guards for Boys and Girls . . \ G. E. C. Pritchard, M.A., M.D. 
21. Marriage and Motherhood A Wife's /By H. S. Davidson, M.B., 

Handbook ..... \ F.R.C.S.E. 

T . . , . /By A. E. Russell, M.A., D.Sc., 

Lord Kelvin . . . , . -\ M.I.E.E. 

23. Huxley ....... By Professor G. Leighton, M.D. 

24. Sir W. Huggins and Spectroscopicf By E.W. Maunder, F.R.A.S., of the 

Astronomy ..... ( Royal Observatory, Greenwich. 


25. The Meaning of Philosophy . . By Prof. A. E.Taylor, M. A., F.B A. 
*26. Henri Bergson : The Philosophy of \ g jj \vildon Carr 

7 . Psychology . ..... By H. J. Watt, M.A., Ph.D. 


\f A 



/ By the Rev. Canon Hastings 

28. Ethics ... . . .| y da ii, D.Litt., F.B.A. 

29. Kant's Philosophy ..... By A. D. Lindsay, M.A. 

30. The Teaching of Plato . . . By A. D. Lindsay, M.A. 

31 . Buddhism ...... { By P F roT. W.Rhys Davids, M.A., 

-,..... /By H. B. Coxon. Preface, Mgr. 

32. Roman Catholicism . . . ( R. H . Benson. 

33. The Oxford Movement ... By Wilfrid P. Ward. 

34 . The Bible in th. Li*h t of the Higher C *ttl8tBISS5 

Criticism ...... | W. H. Bennett, Litt.D., D.D. 

35. Cardinal Newman ..... By Wilfrid Meynell. 


36. The Growth of Freedom . . By H. W. Nevinson. 

37 ' BiS ^ r r C m ^ n Emp e ire Undati n f *'}** *>< F ' * Powicke. M.A. 
38. Oliver Cromwell ..... By Hilda Johnstone, M.A. 

39. Mary Queen of Scots . . . . By E. O'Neill, M.A. 

40. Cecil Rhodes ...... By Ian Colvin. 

By Hilary Hardinge. 

43. Medieval England .... By E. O'Neill, M.A. 

44. The Monarchy and the People . . By W. T. Waugh, M.A. 

45. The Industrial Revolution . . . By A. Jones, M.A. 

46. Empire and Democracy . . . By G. S. Veitch, M.A. 

47 . Women a S G Suff r age-A m Short History } By ^ G Fawcett> LL>D> 

48 ' Th %7Gove n rlm1n?t e ^ SyStem }By Prof. Ramsay Muir, M.A. 

49. An Introduction to Economic Science By Prof. H. O. Meredith, M.A. 

50. Socialism ....... By F. B. Kirkman, B.A. 

51. Shakespeare ...... By Prof. C. H. Herford, Litt.D. 

52. Wordsworth ...... By Miss Rosaline Masson. 

* 53 ' PUr11A Ch iCe f Ly " CS andB y H - C. O'Neill. 

54. Francis Bacon ..... By Prof. A. R. Skemp, M.A. 

55. The Brontes ...... By Miss Flora Masson. 

56. Carlyle ....... By the Rev. L. MacLean Watt. 

*57. Dante ... ... By A. G. Ferrers Howell. 

58. Ruskin ....... By A. Blyth Webster, M.A. 

59. Common Faults in Writing English By Prof. A. R. Skemp, M.A. 

60. A Dictionary of Synonyms . -By Austin K. Gray, B.A. 





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